As Westword's Ask the Bartender columnist, I've talked with many bartenders for Cafe Society's "Behind the Bar" series, posing numerous questions to Denver's top bartenders...and often receiving the same answers: "I love chartreuse," or "I'm really into smoked cocktails/barrel aging/bottled cocktails."
Some time ago, a Facebook friend posted 25 things about himself that most people weren't aware of -- and then he tagged me in the post, at which point I was supposed to do the same: rattle off 25 little-known facts about myself and ask someone else to follow suit. Instead, I'm asking Denver's bartenders to get up and close with Westword readers and share 25 lesser known tidbits about themselves -- and then name the next bartender that I should interview.
My Brother's Bar is easily one of my favorite bars in Denver. It's the oldest saloon in the city; you'll find great beers and whiskies; the burgers, served until 1 a.m., are excellent; and the bartenders are topnotch. One of the mainstays behind the wood is Dwight Long, a real barman in a real bar -- a bartender's bartender, which is high praise. On any given night, you can look across the room and see an assortment -- or motley crew -- of hospitality industry employees. It's a place where the front of the house and the back of the house come together after work over beers and shots. And, they all love Long.
In the interview that follows, Long shares his distaste for Fernet Branca (unusual for a bartender these days, but I don't like it either), his son's aspirations to be a car thief, as well as his shortcomings when it comes to parallel parking.
1. I was born in Provo, Utah. It was finals week for my Dad at BYU. We stayed there for a month to see him graduate, and then they threw my bassinet in the back of their 1966 Dodge Coronet and headed for Virginia.
2. We would move seven times in nine years before ending up in Colorado. Along the way, I picked up four younger sisters.
3. During the summer months, my parents would stuff the five of us in a little station wagon and drive back East to see the family. My grandfather was an old navy man who lived on a little Island in the Chesapeake. The island was a raspberry farm before they built houses on it, and we would spend our time fishing, crabbing, eating raspberries and falling asleep to Orioles baseball.
4. I was a Boy Scout as a kid, and after seeing some of the shenanigans that go on in a scout troop, I'm surprised there are any forests left.
5. I went on a mission for the Mormon church.
6. Remember Shakespeare's? It was a great pool hall at the corner of Fifteenth and Platte, and it's where Tracey, my wife, was working when I first met her. One night after a shift, I decided to go play pool by myself. The place was dead, and she was my waitress. After seeing how bad I was at pool, she took pity on me and the rest is history.
7. We live in South Denver with Jameson, our six-year-old daughter and our two-year-old son Oscar.
8. Jameson wants to be a ninja when she grows up. She practices by climbing on everything in her path, including me.
9. Oscar wants to steal a car really bad. I'm proud that he almost knows how.
10. For Jameson's baby shower, we threw a pig roast. It was so much fun that we decided to have a pig roast every year.
11. I have a 1974 BMW 2002 tii in my garage. I'm hoping to find the time to get it up and running someday.
12. By the way, I have zero experience as a mechanic.
13. Am I the only restaurant employee who does not like Fernet Branca?
14. I make mead every three months or so with a buddy of mine. We have about fifty gallons fermenting in my basement. The last batch was Palisade peach-and-jalapeño.
15. Tracey and I have a garden in the back yard where we grow a little bit of everything, including fifteen different kinds of peppers.
16. When I was five years old, I pretended to be a penguin while taking a bath. I slipped and hit my chin on the bathtub. It required a couple of stitches, and to this day is the worst injury I've every had.
17. I love games, everything from sports to board games with a thousand pieces. Every two weeks, I have some friends over to play games, a ritual that's been going on for fifteen years.
18. I have thirteen fantastic nieces and nephews.
19. I feel that winter is the best time to be a bartender. Winter cocktails are so soothing, and the right bar can be so friendly and warm. A bar feels like a safe haven from the bad weather and the ills of the world. Watching people sip whiskey and swap stories with smiles on their faces makes the host in me buzz.
20. There is a group of about ten of us who have a dinner night every couple of months. We choose a theme and make a dinner based around that theme. Past themes have included Peru, a Lebanese picnic, Champagne and the color red.
21. I was a carpet installer before I started tending bar. At the the beginning of my bartending career, I was working three days a week carpeting houses and three days a week tending bar. Neither of my bosses thought I worked enough.
22. You can always find me at my kid's soccer games. I'm the bleary-eyed father with the giant cup of coffee.
23. I drive like a grandma on Ritalin, and I can't parallel park when Tracey is in the car with me. She mocks me endlessly when I miss, and now I have performance issues.
24. REI is cool, but I miss the Forney museum.
25. I am a father. I tend bar at night and am Mr. Mom in the daytime. I drive the kids to school, dry tears and wash laundry constantly. Luckily for me, I don't think I could be any happier.
Watch for my interview with Brandon Forrester, bartender at Skylark Lounge, next week.
Missed one of my interviews with a Denver bartender? Read the rest of them below. - 25 things you never knew about Ken Kodys, beverage manager of Breckenridge-Wynkoop - 25 things you never knew about Brian Smith, bartender at the Squeaky Bean - 25 things you never knew about Kade Gianetti, bartender at Linger - 25 things you never knew about Melissa Durant, bartender at Acorn - 25 things you never knew about Steuben's bartender Ryan Layman - 25 things you never knew about Chad Michael George, bartender at Williams & Graham
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