Behind the Bar, Wining & Dining

Behind the Bar – Bartender Camila Cecchini

Camila is serving a Sangria Blanco. Photo © Chester Simpson
Camila is serving a Sangria Blanco. Photo © Chester Simpson

Camila Cecchini
La Tasca
607 King Street
Old Town Alexandria

Camila is serving a Sangria Blanco and she is behind the bar:
Wednesdays 3:30 to 11pm
Fridays 3:30 to 12 am
Saturdays 3:30 to 12 am

How did you get started bartending?
I started working as a waitress and once in a while I used to watch the bartenders so I could learn the drinks. We didn’t have a bartender for lunch shifts so, every time I worked, I was the one making the drinks when customers asked.  The manager realized I was doing that and offered me some shifts at the bar. I started little by little working during the not so busy shifts. The casual feeling and the fact you can get more personal with people at the bar made me really get in to it. I worked my way up and eventually they gave me good shifts and I finally became an “official” bartender.

What is your bartender pet peeve?
The biggest one is definitely impatient customers – wavers (hands, money, menus)! A funny one, and I guess a little personal, is when I come with my two hands full of drinks, pitchers or food and you don’t move your phone, coats and bags out of the way and look at me like is my fault you don’t have space in front of you. Trust me, it happens a lot.

What’s the best line somebody has used to get a free drink?
I don’t think there is a line that can make me give someone a free drink, I do not like when people force or try to be “smart” to get something for free. It could come eventually, in a situation of celebration, but not with a line.

What’s the most memorable pickup line you’ve heard?
I’ve heard many interesting things behind the bar, lines to me, as I said are forced, and the most interesting moments I’ve seen was when people were free, naturally being themselves exchanging experiences and getting to know each other. In this area there are people from all over the country and the world too. You can meet people and have a very nice experience at the bars in Alexandria. If you want to meet someone, don’t be afraid to talk, be yourself; the worst thing that can happen is a “no” and that will not change your life, right? Sometimes a joke could be interesting and make people laugh but not necessarily a line already made up or planned.

Can you tell me an interesting story?
I can tell you three:
I guess the story on how I started in this business is funny. I had no clue what I was doing in the beginning. My English was horrible, my first job as a waitress I guess they gave me out of pity . I used to draw the food and write the names in English beside so I could remember what they were talking about (I still have those notes) . After a few months I got much better and they decided to keep me.

I’ve served Jon Bon Jovi and Megan Fox (guys, be jealous) they were pretty laid back and tipped very well.

One time this guy (customer) told me he was my boss because he was paying. He started yelling very loud so others could hear how “important” he was. I told him “I have another 20 “bosses” right now at the bar, so if you have nothing else to ask at this moment, I’m going take care of them. He got upset but after that he chilled out.

Who would you most like to sit down and have a drink with?
If I could, it would be my dad. He is the most amazing, smartest and funniest man I’ve ever met! When I was a kid I used to see how much his friends used to enjoy his company and how much he was the life of the parties. Definitely, he would be my choice.

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