Cafe Society

Paul Weissmann, a bartender, joins a former bar owner at the Capitol

A former bar owner will be moving into the governor's office at the State Capitol -- so it only makes sense that a bartender will be soon be serving as chief of staff of the House Democrats, now the minority party.

Paul Weissmann has been both a state senator and a representative, while continuing to work at the Blue Parrot in Louisville, both as a bartender and currently as the historic restaurant's manager. Prevented by term limits from running again, he had to think long and hard about whether he wanted to return to the Capitol in a staff position. "When they threw it out there, I didn't just jump on it," he says. "I thought it would work because, basically, I get to do everything as before except vote."

And he also gets to serve the state of Colorado, which he's shown he's very good at -- whether he's behind the bar or in the Statehouse.

Like John Hickenlooper, who's often said that owning restaurants -- and dealing with customers -- will really help him govern, Weissmann thinks his background as a bartender and restaurant manager will help. "You learn to treat people well," he says. "Otherwise, you're sunk. And you learn to be honest with folks. Otherwise, you're sunk. And those things really do carry over."

Michael Roberts caught up with the new House minority party chief of staff yesterday; read his interview with Paul Weissmann here. Just one question: While Colorado's legislators are citizen lawmakers who only work for the state part of the year, this new gig is full-time. Will Weissmann have to quit his night job?

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun