Behind the Bar: Carlos Mejicanos
149 Waterfront Street
Carlos concocts a La Birra. It’s Italian for “The Beer.” The recipe for this drink came all the way from Napoli.
How did you get started in the bartending business?
I got the idea when I was 20 going on 21. I was tired of the sales industry and wanted to find a way to make money while I was in school.
What is your biggest bartender pet peeve?
I have to pick just one? It probably has to be people coming to my bar and asking me if I make a “good [insert cocktail here].” I usually reply with, “No, I make a terrible…” After the joke is set aside they add, “I’ll be the judge if it’s good.” I once told an Old Fashioned “aficionado” that if he didn’t like my drink, he could come behind the bar and school me. He liked the drink and asked for another.
What is the cleverest line anyone has ever used to get you to give them a free drink?
I run into more people wanting a heavier pour, but there are the others demanding free drinks for their birthday buddies. Though, this one time, I had a Latino guest try to get a free drink due to racial relation. This older gentleman wanted me to hook him up with a free drink because, “you gotta look after your own, right?! Haha!” Nope.
What is the best/worst pickup line you have overheard at the bar?
The worst was quite vulgar, but in short he told her what he would do to her and what kind of involuntary acts (and convulsions shall we say…?) she would follow up with. It, of course, didn’t work.
Tell us about an interesting encounter you have had with a customer(s).
So….this happened years ago while I was bartending at the Bertucci’s where a Five Guys now stands in Old Town Alexandria. It wasn’t a rough night, and all seemed normal until we got a guest who sat at a bar table. It was the small one by the front door that only sat two people. We noticed she looked homeless and let her sit and got her some water. Then she falls asleep. We wake her and tell her she can’t sleep there so she orders some food. This all just seems a bit normal until she starts talking to herself. She’s having full on conversations and we’re all looking at each other wondering if we should be concerned. We didn’t wonder long though, because she gets up and starts basically shouting The Star Spangled Banner. Just try and picture a skinny ragged woman standing at attention bellowing this tune to the ceiling. She goes for the long hold too, once she gets to “can you see,” she doesn’t let go. Even the manager stared for a bit before realizing he needed to address the issue. It was an amazing and crazy thing to witness. We escorted her out and packed her food for her. She didn’t step into the restaurant again.
If you could sit down and have a drink with anyone in the world, past or present, who would that be?
It would probably have to be Leslie Nielsen. I’m a big fan of slapstick comedy and I find him to be a slapstick genius. I can’t imagine what ridiculous conversations we could have over a few drinks.
Carlos is behind the bar 5 – 6 nights a week and always on Fridays and Saturdays.