Behind the Bar: Neil L. Burroughs
Neil L. Burroughs
Redstone American Grill
155 National Plaza
Neil Serves Up the Redstone Pickled Goose – Grey Goose Vodka, dill pickle and olive juice shaken, shaken, shaken and garnished with pickle wrapped hand stuffed blue cheese olives!
How did you get started in the bartending business?
Thanks to the pressure of my older brother and mentor, Phil Vickers, and a hidden desire to make new tastes I decided to jump right into this ever evolving industry and trade. From traveling and drinking to learning and appreciating other cultures and reasons behind certain drinks and garnishes, I love the whole concept of bartending. Enjoying the random bar guest conversations and serving the old style drinks that are popular now are part of what being a seasoned bartender is all about. However, my liver and my mind awareness started with Phil Vickers and was made possible by Paul Salter now of Mission BBQ.
What is your biggest bartender pet peeve?
The guests who arrive on their phones AND stay on their phones and make no consistent eye contact. You know, the ones who point and wave and never finish a statement and then complain about orders not coming out correctly and or lack of service.
What is the cleverest line anyone has ever used to get you to give them a free drink?
Still to this day a 20 dollar bill in the air and when I card them and it’s their birthday….I’m like “Oh Lord, welcome to drinking in public and not in your friends basement”.
What is the best/worst pickup line you have overheard at the bar?
Excuse me…. does this smell like chloroform. Just playing….”I’m single, let’s mingle and for 5 or 6 hours let’s not be single. In the morning let’s kiss and get brunch because I promise I’ll be the best mistake you’ll make this month”.
Tell us about an interesting encounter you have had with a customer(s).
When I was 18 years old, I was serving tables at Outback Steakhouse on Route 1 in Alexandria and this amazing couple – soon to be parents – were in my section and picking out possible names for a boy or girl. Evidently I served them a great meal and they enjoyed the banter since, a few months later they returned and, you guessed it, there is another Neil on the planet.
Another quick story. When I started bartending, I had five bar regulars that ended up being my close friends and family. Ironically, they are all named Bill – Bourbon Bill Effen, Vodka Bill, Hot Daughter Bill, Boat Bill and Crazy Bill. One day a new guest introduced himself, “Hi, my name is Bill” and I laughed and said….”Well hello number 6!” It’s our joke but they are, to this day and 18 years later, some of the best people I have in my life even if I don’t see them as often as I would like. They are like family. Right Bill?
If you could sit down and have a drink with anyone in the world, past or present, who would that be?
This is a hard question. There are so many. First, my grandfather secondly Frederick Douglass and then it would be Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa. I can’t foget Penelope Cruz or Rosario Dawson. Besides being gorgeous, they do a lot of community service. I also wouldn’t mind sitting down with Colin Powell. and Darth Vader!
Neil is behind the bar Monday and Tuesday mornings and Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
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