Behind the Bar, Wining & Dining

Behind The Bar: Katy Gorman


Katy Gorman

Daniel O’Connell’s Restaurant & Bar

112 King Street

Old Town Alexandria


How did you get started in the bartending business?

I was 20 and studying abroad in Northampton, England. What I thought would be a great adventure turned out to be a very stressful time. My dad, who was back home in the US, was diagnosed with GBS and put on life support and instead of calling me home, I was asked by my family to stay where I was and continue my studies. To add to the situation, I was broke. I then decided to take a job tending bar at Wembley Arena in London. I just served drinks for concert goers, but it was my first taste of service. When I got home, I realized that I had more potential to help support my family at the time by working nights at a local restaurant.  I was a daughter-nurse by day and a server/bartender by night. And so you have it…

What is your biggest bartender pet peeve?

I’ve really grown out of most of them by now. The biggest one these days is when a guy is pushing me to give him my number. Sorry, guys, but it’s not always welcome. It’s actually rather uncomfortable, especially in front of other guests.

What is the cleverest line anyone has ever used to get you to give them a free drink?

I can’t think of anything special. I know I used to get free drinks all the time! What are the chances…being a cute female and all…no lines needed.

What is the best/worst pickup line you have overheard at the bar?

So this guy tells me his pickup method at bars: he tells a girl he bets he can guess the last 4 digits of her number if she gives him the first 3. He of course guesses wrong, but she has already given him the first 3. Later on after more drinks, he bets her again that he can guess the first 3 digits of her number is he gives her the last 4. In doing so, she doesn’t realize she’s given him her full number. He then moves on to stalker mode….

Tell us about an interesting encounter you have had with a customer(s).

I met Desmond Tutu one afternoon. That was amazing. His daughter was working at Christ Church and I was bartending at Bertucci’s in Old Town. They stopped in for Sunday lunch. To meet someone of his caliber felt like I was beyond worlds. The kindness in his eyes was like no one I’ve ever met since. I feel truly blessed to have been at the right place at the right time.

If you could sit down and have a drink with anyone in the world, past or present, who would that be?

Honestly, my grandmother. She died when my mom was 22, so I never had a chance to get to know her. With where I’m at in my life, I feel I would have so much in common with her. From the stories I’ve heard, I think she was a very special lady.

Katy is behind the bar Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday days.

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Katy muddles up a new specialty drink at OC’s – the Butterscotch Manhattan

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