If Chicago bartenders could bottle their wisdom, they'd be so rich they wouldn't have to tend bar anymore, but they would anyway because they love their jobs that much. Thrillist talked to two dudes from The Boiler Room to get the lowdown on everything from circuses to secret sandwiches
Favorite bar to hang out in other than your own?
Depends on the night. I love Barrelhouse Flat because they are late-night on the weekend and industry nights on Monday, so I have the opportunity to get there after a 12-hour shift on a Saturday. If I have the night off I love hitting the dive bars. I live above Cole's, which is a divey bar in Logan Square. Most nights, you can find me playing pool and drinking Tecates there
"Nothing good happens after 2am" -- agree or disagree?
No way! Everything happens after 2am. Mostly bad decisions, but regrets are for the daylight. After 2am is your last chance to find that special someone. It's also the time that all your favorite bartenders are able to drink with you. Buy them a shot
When you want a really sloppy breakfast with few health benefits whatsoever, where do you go, and what do you get?
I love Cozy Corner. It is a nasty, sloppy diner that is fantastic. I usually get some sort of Mexican skillet which has hash browns, scrambled eggs, jalapeño, and chorizo. If I'm on a health stint I do the California omelet, which is egg (obviously), tomato, spinach, bacon, and avocado
Any bartenders out there you truly admire?
I have to give a shout-out to Danny Shapiro and Griffin Elliot who I work with at my other bar, Scofflaw. Also, Mike Ryans of Sable is a huge inspiration and an amazing bartender
So what's your call on the most effective way to clear people out at closing time?
Stop serving them booze
Do customers actually come to you with their problems?
I've been bartending for over 10 years, and I'm still amazed at what customers are willing to divulge. I’m all for lending an ear, but sometimes it's just too much. The ones that always surprise me are the customers who have never been to your bar before, order a drink and want to tell you their life story, become your best friend in a couple hours, and never return
What's the most effective way to clear people out at closing time?
Turn up all the lights and blast Finnish death metal over the speakers until everyone leaves... not really. In most cases just letting customers know we are closing and that it’s our turn to drink usually works
Where does a man go to get a fat sandwich in this town?
Mickey, the chef at Scofflaw, has an off-menu sandwich called “La Gaupachosa”. I'm not even sure what's in the sandwich, but all I know is that it's huge and amazing (I'm pretty sure they only sell 10 a day). You can't go wrong with this sandwich
Tipping at the bar: set amount per drink, or percentage of total bill?
I'm a fan of instant gratification. If you are at a busy bar, pay cash for every round, and tip for every round. The bartender will notice and it will get you better, quicker service
How do you feel about flair? Great in moderation? Great in excess? Not great at all?
Flair, yeah, I'm not at all for that sh*t (sorry just being honest). I go to a bar for a good drink and good service. If I wanted a 3-ring circus with my drink, I would go to Barnum & Bailey’s