Behind the Bar with Samantha “Sam” Ann Mogul
Samantha “Sam” Ann Mogul
728 Henry Street
Old Town Alexandria
How did you get started in the bartending business?
Growing up I knew when it was”5 o’clock” because my grandmother would have her old fashioned ready. I would wait patiently next to her waiting for the orange and cherries when she was finished. Then, as I got older my father taught me how to make him a good martini after work and the best Bloodys on the weekends. I remember my parents asking me one morning what I used as a mixer for their bottle of vodka that we got busted for – when I responded with “coca cola because it’s all we had”, they told me ” if you’re going to drink our good booze you will mix it correctly, vodka gets juices and dark liquor gets coke”. I guess it started there, unofficially.
What is your biggest bartender pet peeve?
While I’m sure I could be brutally honest with this one and a few readers would probably recognize these behaviors in themselves, I think I’ll save it to spare them and myself from getting scolded from my bosses (you’re welcome guys) . That being said, when I’m busy and the only concern from a patron is charging their phone so they can continue swiping right or left on tinder and not paying attention to the live bodies around them and they want our cord or to find them a socket. Thankfully, the guys thought of those people when we did our build out. We have sockets and USB ports installed in the bar under the bag hooks every few seats!
What is the cleverest line anyone has ever used to get you to give them a free drink?
They usually aren’t that clever- but if they’re really entertaining attempts I may give in. Actually, after taking the picture for this column the charming photographer himself coyly asked if I needed to do something with the “Sneaky Pete” I made for the shot. Free drink for Bob!
What is the best/worst pickup line you have overheard at the bar?
There are so many to choose from! I had a regular once who made up the wildest stories of his past. I’m unsure which were true and which were false but some seemed to work for him. He was married to Alanis Morissette before she was really famous and he sailed in storms that flipped the ship in a 360 degree roll over through the water…..the list went on – sometimes they worked and other times he failed miserably.
Tell us about an interesting encounter you have had with a customer(s).
There are some characters that have sat on the other side of my bar, for sure. My favorite recent encounter had to be a couple months ago. Since we are a new venue, I have posted a lot on social media to get people aware that they need to come check us out. This day was pretty routine until the door opened. I looked to see who was walking in and it was my best friend from college who I hadn’t seen in person since 2009! She had a layover and was walking to King Street with her fellow flight crew and recognized the name/building from my pictures. She walked in to see if it was the same place and I coincidentally was working. Total girls, we both started crying & laughing at the same time. I have customers return now that had been there that day and still bring it up.
If you could sit down and have a drink with anyone in the world, past or present, who would that be?
My late grandmother. Now that I’m seasoned in making her favorite Old Fashion cocktail and legally old enough to enjoy one with her – I would give anything to be able to sit outside with a drink and talk to her.
Sam’s schedule varies, however, she is behind the bar or on site doing something more often than not. Stop in and see her.