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.
Linger's Kade Gianetti, the bartender I chatted with last week, encouraged me to interview Chad Michael George, one of the bartenders at Williams & Graham, the same bar where I work. George moved to Denver about a year and a half ago, but before his arrival, several of my friends from around the country called or e-mailed me to testify to his talents and character. I was immediately suspect (kidding...sort of), but once we met in person, it was apparent why everyone was singing his praises. George is an incredibly talented bartender who cares deeply about the craft, and he's very active in the bartending community.
In this week's edition of "25 things you never knew," George admits that he loves box wine, loathes mashed potatoes and Fernet, and has nightmares about cubicles.
Herewith, 25 things you never knew about Chad Michael George, bartender at Williams & Graham:
1. I never went by my full name until I set up my Facebook account. For some reason, I used all three of my names, and it just caught on. Thank you, Facebook. Chad George is boring, and now I have a myriad of Chad Michael George-related nicknames.
2. The only nickname I despise is "Chadwick." Anything else is fair game.
3. Before working in hospitality, I worked in finance for a national bank for more than five years. I now have a severe disdain for the corporate world and even have nightmares about cubicles.
4. On the upside, working for the bank allowed me to travel every week, which is how I became obsessed with hotels, restaurants, bars and, most of all, wine.
5. In fact, I got into the hospitality industry through that love of wine. I'm a certified sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers.
6. Even though I love drinking and making cocktails for others, I still drink wine more than any other alcoholic beverage.
7. I have bottles of wine at home worth hundreds of dollars, but truth be told, I'm more inclined to pour a glass from the box of wine that sits conveniently next to my fridge.
8. I've worked every job in a restaurant from dishwasher to GM, but no job on the planet compares to being behind the bar. I'll always find a way to stay back there.
9. I have an unhealthy obsession with all things brandy, especially Calvados.
10. I don't like mashed potatoes, which no doubt makes me un-American.
11. I don't like Fernet Branca, which no doubt makes me an un-bartender.
12. I have a written bucket list, which I keep next to my bed.
13. Number one on that list is throwing out the first pitch at a Cardinals game at Busch Stadium.
14. I love public speaking. The bigger the audience, the better.
15. Number two on that bucket list is "Deliver a TED Talk."
16. I lived in St. Louis pretty much my entire life before moving to Denver in March of 2012.
17. It was one of the best decisions I've ever made, although I miss my family and good friends back home every single day.
18. I'm incredibly competitive, whether it's sports or card games. I'm actually too competitive for game nights at the house.
19. If I could do anything in the world for a living, I would be a Formula 1 race car driver. It's the same dream I've had since I was fourteen years old.
20. I despise cigarettes on a level unknown to most. After nearly losing my mom, partially because of her smoking habits, I'm more than happy to share my opinion on cigarettes with anyone willing to be scolded.
21. My sister, who is nine years younger than I, moved in with me for her last two years of high school. We've been best friends ever since.
22. I'm currently writing a book. The only way I write well is while listening to classical music or Explosions In The Sky.
23. I'm obsessed with lists. It's the only way I ever get anything done.
24. I like to sing, and supposedly I'm not too bad on those karaoke nights. I need a few beers in advance, though.
25. After a few drinks, I often challenge people to a foot race. Don't indulge me. You will either lose or I will fall down. Take my word for it: It's a lose-lose situation.
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Missed one of my interviews with a Denver bartender? Read the rest of them below. - 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