Restaurant workers labor long and hard. How do they spend their precious days off?
Bartender at Més Que, Toutant
I think days off for us in the industry are sacred. Most of us are out here working two jobs, so we have such a small window of as much drinking and eating as possible from the time you wake up until you’re too tired to carry on.
One of my new favorite things to do when I’m not working is go to bars solo. I think there’s no experience like having a one-to-one, 45-minute transaction with someone. Trying as hard as possible to master my “craft,” I don’t think the importance of understanding the mentality on the other side of the bar can be overlooked. For example, finding things that annoy me about other bartenders is a way I make myself better. If it annoys me, it would typically annoy a guest. And, an annoyed guests means less of a tip, and a poor performance…
Of course when I’m not working I normally don’t stick to either food or drinks, since to achieve drinking-longevity (especially for us brunch goers), you need some carbs to soak up that alcohol.
Taste of Siam on Elmwood Avenue is somewhere I wouldn’t mind eating three meals a day, every day, for the rest of my life. Nobody in town has traditional Pud Thai as perfectly balanced as Bobby’s. I also recommend a bowl of pho if you’re feeling sickly. Trust me. Anything food-related there should be chased with a Brooklyn Lager, or few.
Buffalo Proper has a way of drawing me in most days off. While I’m usually only there late enough to get a High Life and a shot of anything, I’m a sucker for a Hanger Steak and Blinker combo. Ed and his staff cook a mid-rare steak to perfection, and the vegetable pairing is always spot-on. And you can’t go wrong with rye, raspberry, and grapefruit.
Lastly, Essex Karaoke on Tuesday nights. Close to home so it’s fitting for night caps and drunk singing.
Bartender at La Tavola Trattoria and Founding Father’s Pub
When I have free time I try to try as many new places as I can. My next stops will be MTK and Marble + Rye. After work drinks typically mean I go to Mes Que for a Elevate Me Later or Lloyd’s for any of their spicy cocktails. For a night out that’s fast and delicious, I go to Cantina Loco for some nachos, burritos, and a margarita. I love to eat so I hope my responses aren’t overly typical or boring.
Bartender at Founding Fathers and Left Bank
On my days off, I typically go out in Allentown, particularly Neitzsche’s on Tuesdays for the Stripteasers, or I head to the Gypsy Parlor on the West Side. Occasionally, I go to Frank’s Tudor Lounge, Cathode Ray, the Old Pink, and, after work, the Essex Pub.
I’ll go out to eat all over the city. Lately, I’ve been enjoying Pho Dollar, Kaydara, Allen Street Hardware, Toutant, and Lovejoy Pizza.
Bartender at Buffalo Proper
On my days off I usually find myself at Kuni’s, Craving, Ballyhoo, the Essex Street Pub, or Mes Que for food and drinks.
The drinks are always perfect at Ballyhoo—their bar staff is classically trained and knowledgable without a shred of pretension, and the house-made sausages are all pretty delicious. I enjoy the burger, the wings, and the Van Wyck Sisters (Christina and Barbara) at the Essex Street Pub. Kuni’s is always impeccable—food, service, staff—fresh and awesome. Craving has three different ham sandwiches on its lunch menu and I get into an argument with myself every time I’m there, and a gnocchi dish on the dinner menu that’s great. I usually go for the charcuterie at Mes Que and go on an adventure with the cocktail menu—it’s really eclectic but it pushes boundaries of what can be done with drinks that I don’t see happening many places in town.