Behind the Bar, Wining & Dining

Behind the Bar – Christy-Lee Carter

Bartender Christy-Lee Carter Photo Credit © Chester Simpson
Christy-Lee Carter Serving a Rum Punch. Photo Credit © Chester Simpson

Reynolds Street Bar & Grill
34 S. Reynolds Street
Alexandria, VA

How did you get started bartending?
Prior to bartending I had always had nine to five jobs which required panty hose and boring cubicles. In 2009, when I opted for a change of scenery I thought of the bar and restaurant industry. I walked into a place where I had heard was hiring and applied for a cocktail waitress position since I had zero bartending experience. My application was handed to the manager and he asked me “have you ever bartended before’? “Nope” I said. His response was a simple, “Well, we can teach people to make drinks, we can’t teach people to have personality and to be friendly”. From then on I remembered those words. Anyone can make drinks, but it’s true, not everyone has personality.

What is your bartender pet peeve?
This one I had to think about because I know that there are so many. The first things that came to mind were the ever so subtle tapping your glass on the bar, going out to smoke then claiming that we took your drink… and it was full, or repeatedly shouting out something other than my name. All those things are fine in comparison to the ever so famous line of “how much is a Patron margarita?” or “How much is a large beer?” O.K., “How much is a small beer?” All of these questions just scream that I am going to not only get stiffed on the tip, but most likely the drink won’t be “strong enough” for them. Hey, if you can’t afford to tip then maybe you should just stay home. I would also like to add that I enjoy watching when a man is trying to impress women at the bar by buying those drinks all night, then doesn’t tip, and still goes home alone. Impressive guy, impressive.

What is the best line someone has used to get a free drink?
“Hey, I come here all the time, isn’t there like a point system or something where every third drink is free?”

What is the most memorable pick up line you have heard?
I was working a Saturday double and it was around 10 pm when I was approached by a gentleman who made a comment about my fingernails. He then proceeded to ask me if my toes looked the same way and if he could take me out and rub my feet. I, being an inquisitive mind asked him why he wanted to take me out and rub my feet, to which he replied that he had a foot fetish, then asked me out again. When I replied with a kind no thank you, he turned away for a moment then looked back at me and said, “Well then, can I buy your socks?”

Can you tell us an interesting story?
I’m actually working on a book filled with interesting stories about life, however I only have about a page here. I believe that life itself is an interesting story and it is all about how you take it. My parents always told me that life is full of speed bumps, it just depends on how good your shock absorbers are. What may not seem like a great story at the time, or what seems like a huge pothole that just swallowed your front end (you know what I’m talking about), might be looked back upon later as a wonderful memory. Laugh a lot, learn a little, and be kind to one another. Life is short, so make it good.

Who would you like to sit down and have a drink with?
When I was approached with the “Behind the bar” opportunity a friend said I should put someone interesting in this section, not like my mom or dad. Well, sorry Mitch, I’m going to have to say that I would most like to have a drink with my dad. After he passed away in 2013, I began to go through his things from the time he spent in the army around the 1960’s. Turns out my dad was quite the catch and quite the artist, on top of being the world’s greatest dad (in my opinion). Not only would I like to hear more about his life and just talk to him, I would also like to thank him for what happened next. They say when one door closes another door opens, well I was reunited with my birth mother after about 6 years and we now have a great budding relationship. So, cheers to you Dad for teaching me everything you could, and letting me fumble the rest on my own. It all helps make that book of interesting stories.

Christie is behind the bar Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sat 5 pm to 2am and Sun noon to 5pm.


Written by: Chester Simpson
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