2010 Best Bars

Straight Up

Three of Portland’s bartending best serve up stories from behind the bar

By Nicole Morales November 17, 2010 Published in the December 2010 issue of Portland Monthly

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Kelley Swenson, June
A chilled vodka martini needs to be stirred or shaken, vigorously. There’s a particular way to shake. My technique is over my right shoulder. I typically don’t stray too far from that, but it was a busy day with a lot of things going on, and someone wanted an extra-chilled one. I got distracted by something, and changed my technique so that my hands were in front of my face. I didn’t realize it until I hit myself in the head. I ended up with a little bump the next day.

Lucy Brennan, Mint and 820
There was something off about a woman who came out of the bathroom. She was giggling, and there was an angular outline on her blouse. She had a piece of my artwork down her shirt! I wasn’t angry; it was more funny than anything, like a scene from SNL. It wasn’t worth anything, but still I wanted it back. So before she left, I said, “Can I have my artwork, please?” She handed it back, and I don’t think she’s been in since.

Jeff Morgenthaler, Clyde Common
I was bartending for two years at this really rough bar in Eugene. I cut off this crazy redneck guy one night and he stood up, looked me in the eye, and said, “I’m gonna go home, get my shotgun, come back, and blow your head off.” It was maybe 9 or 10, and we still had a full night ahead of us. So I kicked everybody out, locked the doors, and left. That’s when I realized I needed to go in the direction of fine dining.

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