Behind the Bar, Wining & Dining

Behind the Bar – Bert “Larry” Bacon

Bartender Bert Bacon at the Old Ebbitt Grill © Photo Chester Simpson
Bartender Bert Bacon at the Old Ebbitt Grill © Photo Chester Simpson

Bert “Larry” Bacon
Old Ebbitt Grill
675 15th Street NW
Washington, DC

Larry serves up a Michter’s Rye Manhattan
You will find Larry behind the bar Wednesday – Saturday nights at the Old Bar.

How did you get started bartending?
After dropping out of college, I was really in a bad place.  I had gotten a job at Subway making sandwiches for minimum wage and was pretty miserable. My best friend at the time was working at the dry cleaners next door and was asked to bring a friend to a bar in Old Town to meet up with some girls he met at the dry cleaners. Being the friend, I accepted. We made our way to The Laughing Lizard Lounge to see a band called Smokin’. I fell in love with the little dive bar and persistently begged the Owner, Gabe Fioritti (RIP), for a job at least 5 nights a week for a two-month period. He finally caved and gave me a shot. I worked there for 10 years.

What is your bartender pet peeve?
Wavers, snappers, whistlers, non-tippers, and wasted people. Be patient, we’ll get to you, there is a lot going on here and we are professionals, it’s not gonna take long, I promise. And if you’re wasted, just go home.

What’s the best line somebody has used to get a free drink?
Free drinks are one of those things that are discretionary. Lines are creative but being a great guest goes a lot further.

What’s the most memorable pickup line you’ve heard?
Eh… pickup lines… Not even going to go there. Cheesy and cliche. There are pro’s of the pick-up though. See it all the time.

Photo © Chester Simpson
Photo © Chester Simpson

Can you tell me an interesting story?
I had a group of 14 “twenty-somethings” come in to the bar one night – all on the same check. They proceeded to eat, drink, and be merry when 3-4 at a time “went to the bathroom”. As the last few started leaving the bar, I asked if they wanted to settle the tab before they left. One young lady said, “we are only going to the bathroom”, and continued on. I walked to the other bar near the front door and watched them all walk out of the restaurant. Needless to say, I hopped the bar and went outside. The check was $350.00. They paid and I got stiffed. Not the norm but it happens.

Who would you most like to sit down and have a drink with?
My grandfathers. I never knew my moms dad and my fathers dad was one of the most amazing people to be a part of my life. Never knew him as an adult.

Written by: Chester Simpson

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