Behind the Bar, Wining & Dining

Behind the Bar – Hannah Blackerby

Bartender Hannah Blackerby at Flying Fish, Photo Credit © Chester Simpson
Bartender Hannah Blackerby at Flying Fish, Photo Credit © Chester Simpson

Hannah Blackerby
Flying Fish
815 King Street
Old Town Alexandria

Hannah is serving a, “Peachy Lychee” and is behind the bar Monday through Thursday 5 pm to midnight.

How did you get started in the Bartending business?
Bartending and the service industry in general, was never something that crossed my mind when I thought of a career path. About a year and a half ago I applied as a simple hostess at Flying Fish Restaurant, but after only a few short months (and with a lot of encouragement from my coworkers) I started serving tables. Then I learned to be a cocktail waitress and that gave me the opportunity to see some of Old Town’s most amazing bartenders in action. I was hooked. I began with asking them questions, such as how they pour, drink ingredients and how they each deal with customers in their own way. I was very lucky to have multiple points of view and bartending styles to guide me through this process of learning. After a while I felt comfortable enough to ask for official bar training. I am very happy that I watched and asked questions first, it truly helped me to feel more comfortable in those first few months and now I’m happier behind my bar than just about anywhere else.

What is your bartender pet peeve?
Obviously most bartenders have a lot of pet peeves in common. We don’t want to be snapped at, treated rudely, or under tipped but all those things are things that we can’t let ourselves get upset about because they happen every day. For me I think the biggest pet peeve I have is when I run out of a necessary item, ingredient, or liquor and there is no more to be found. “Sorry, no mojito for you. All the mint has vanished.”

That being said, have found that the number of pet peeves I put up with in a day are greatly outweighed by the awesome people I get to meet, great conversations and the environment of constant learning.

What’s the best line somebody has used to get a free drink from you?
I don’t really give free drinks to people who use lines. You don’t have to ask for it, be good to your bartenders and they’ll be good to you.

Photo Credit © Chester Simpson
Photo Credit © Chester Simpson

What’s the most memorable pickup line you’ve heard?
So….a guy walks into a bar and sits down next to a lovely lady. He orders a drink and sips on it for a moment. When the bartender comes back around he asks for one cube of ice and proceeds to finish the rest of his drink very quickly. The bartender looks at him kind of funny as he strategically places the ice on his beverage napkin, and the next thing you know he slams his empty glass down on the ice and crushes it all over the bar. The lovely lady turns and looks at the man in shock, and he says, “So now that I’ve broken the ice, can I get your name?”

Can you tell me an interesting story?
The same one I tell everyone who asks me to tell them a story…this is a story about an ugly duckling.

There once was an ugly duckling.
He was so ugly that everyone died.
The end.

Who would you want to have a drink with and why?
My dad. I haven’t seen him in about four years and I miss him a lot. He always has the coolest things to say and I would love to sit down at bar with him, share some good scotch and introduce him to the woman I have grown up to be.

Written by: Chester Simpson

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