10 Questions: Toby Bittenbender
There are A-list bartenders working the hot clubs. But you know something? They all had to start somewhere.
Bittenbender is new to bartending. The Dallas native spent years playing guitar in a band, touring from venue to venue...until fatherhood caused him to rethink priorities. So he took a job as a barback--one of the guys who stocks the shelves, slices limes and does everything else to support a bartender on busy nights.
That's the old-school way of learning the trade. Now a bartender and manager at Whisky Bar on lower Greenville, he can make just about anything--except maybe a martini...
1. What matters more on lower Greenville, price or brand name? Price, absolutely.
2. So there's a clear difference between drinking classes? Yeah, definitely. Older drinkers tend to like the taste of something and they'll pay for it. Once someone gets a taste of the good stuff, it happens.
3. Do conversations change during the course of an evening? From moment to moment they change. It gets ridiculous around 1:30.
4. What's the strangest thing you've heard? Let's see, that's tough. I can't think of just one. I hear all kinds. How crazy do you want this to be?
5. Which is more important behind the bar, speed or perfection? There's no such thing as perfection. Speed is key and you try to be as perfect as you can.
6. Is there a drink you hate to make? I don't like making martinis, but that's just because I'm not good at it. How 'bout a Jack and Coke?
7. Did the end of Sex in the City also end cosmos? Maybe. I've never had anyone order a cosmo. I'm learning shots. Sex with an alligator--what's in that? Yesterday a gal asked for a peanut butter and jelly. It's weird; it tastes just like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
8. Where's the best place to eat at 3 a.m.? Greenville Avenue Pizza Company. Great pizza and it's pretty quick. Just walk across the street, it's right there.
9. How much Red Bull does it take to get through an evening? Oh, I drink a lot. Actually, too much--I just had my first. I need to slow down.
10. Why bartend? This is one of the best jobs I've every had. The people, the environment--I look forward to coming here. There are moments when I want to strangle someone, but that's in any job. For the most part, it's awesome.