Behind the Bar, Wining & Dining

Behind the Bar with Mark Barrett

Bartender Mark Barrett at Chez Andree, serving up the ever popular "Cosmo." Photo Credit © Chester Simpson
Bartender Mark Barrett at Chez Andree, serving up the ever popular “Cosmo.” Photo Credit © Chester Simpson

Mark Barrett
Chez Andree
10 East Glebe Road
Alexandria, VA

How did you get started bartending?
As a child growing up in Pittsburgh, my Dad owned a country and western bar and it always intrigued me.  Then when I lived in New Orleans and after seeing the movie Cocktail, I wanted in on the action and did my first bartending gig there.  I loved it.  Plus, I enjoy talking to people and that’s why I like bartending at the Chez and catching up with all my regular customers.  I’m going on my 21st year here, which tells you how great it is to work for the Lecureux family and how much I love working with my wonderful coworkers.

What is your bartender pet peeve?
Well actually I have three:

  1. People snitching fruit out of the garnish tray. That just isn’t right.
  2. A drink being sent back because it doesn’t taste like alcohol.  I like to think of myself as a mixologist.  If the drink is made right, it should be smooth and taste like the name of the cocktail, not just alcohol.
  3. I call it an air bottle. When you’re busy making drinks and you reach for a bottle and there’s not even a half shot left in the bottle. That usually happens when you’re very busy.

What’s the best line somebody used to get a free drink?
I’ll gladly pay you tomorrow for a drink today. That’s not happening.  (It might work once if you are a good regular customer.)

What’s the most memorable pickup line you’ve heard?
Hi! My name is [John Doe]. How do you like you’re eggs?

Can you tell me an interesting story?
I used to have this customer who would come in 2 or 3 times a week and have 2 drinks and the French onion soup. At one point he had shown me his doctor’s orders which allowed for only 2 drinks.  Well one day, he asked for a third drink, and I told him I couldn’t do that.  After the fourth time trying to get a third drink out of me and me refusing to do so, he asked for the check and told me to put a $100 tip on it.

Who would you most like to sit down and have a drink with?
I think my Dad, who passed away in 1997, and who I miss every day. I’d love to sit down and talk to him about the Pittsburgh Steelers and how he taught me everything I know about outdoor illumination at Christmas and to thank him and my Mother for giving my brother Bobby and I a wonderful childhood.

Mark is behind the bar: Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday: 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Wednesday and Friday: 11:30 am to 2:30 pm.

Written by: Chester Simpson
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