Behind the Bar, Wining & Dining

Behind the Bar: LaVenia “LV” Cofield

LV offers up the Redstone Doli – pineapple infused vodka martini
LV offers up the Redstone Doli – pineapple infused vodka martini

LaVenia “LV” Cofield
Redstone American Grill
155 National Plaza
National Harbor

How did you get started in the bartending business?
I was a cocktail server at McCormick and Schmick’s for 3 years. While I was a “cocktailer” I started learning drinks and became interested in bartending. So I went on vacation and came back and my boss pulled me outside before I clocked in, lit his cigarette and slowly said ” Soooooo we wanna promote you to bartender”. I was so nervous and freaking out because he pulled me outside just to tell me the great news. I was so excited and super anxious to learn all the drinks and bartend. And now here we are, I’m a great “StarTender”.

What is your biggest bartender pet peeve?
My biggest pet peeve is when the bar is crowded and I get to you, and you have no idea what you want to drink. I’m like, what were you doing that whole time besides annoyingly tapping the bar with your credit card?

What is the cleverest line anyone has ever used to get you to give them a free drink?
Oh I have heard so many crazy lines but the most often heard is – Customer: “LV, can I get a drink on the house?” Me: “Sorry but I can’t do that.” Customer: “But it’s my birthday” Me: “Well, happy birthday!” No free drink since it’s the thought that counts.

What is the best/worst pickup line you have overheard at the bar?
Everyone should know that bartenders hear everything. We’re just trying to anticipate your needs. We’re not trying to eavesdrop but we do hear some pretty hilarious stuff. Example: This guy is sitting at the bar and this woman sits down next to him. He tells her she reminds him of his second wife… she asks him “well how many times have you been married?” and he says, “once”.

Tell us about an interesting encounter you have had with a customer(s).
Wow I’ve had so many interesting encounters bartending. But there is this regular that comes to my bar all the time – very pleasant, very social, very nice. So my birthday comes around and I decide to go to the xyz Lounge at the Aloft Hotel to have some drinks with friends. I get to Aloft and there are balloons, a cake, gifts and all of my friends. My regular threw me a surprise birthday party!! I was so happy! That was the best thing someone has ever done for me. It was such a memorable experience that I will never forget.

If you could sit down and have a drink with anyone in the world, past or present, who would that be?
If I could have a drink with anyone in the world it would be Oprah. She is such an inspiration. She came from nothing and built an empire, all while people doubted whether she was good enough. It would be awesome to sit and have a drink with her and get some advice, laugh, and turn up.

LV is behind the bar Saturday through Wednesday nights.

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