Behind the Bar, Wining & Dining

Behind the Bar: Steve Bork

Steve Bork

RT’s Restaurant

3804 Mount Vernon Avenue



Steve conjures up RT’s Creole 75 #1 – House made rosemary and pear infused gin, ginger and lemon shaken and strained, topped with champagne and a lemon twist.

How did you get started in the bartending business?

While in college I got a job as a server and ended up being pretty good at it so when a bartending position opened up they asked me if I was interested. My “regular” job is writing code and I luckily get to work from home so being a nerd with social skills I feel like they will go away if I don’t use them. The extra money surely doesn’t hurt as well.

What is your biggest bartender pet peeve?

My biggest pet peeve as a bartender is actually (some) other bartenders. If you are going to be surly while behind the bar then DON’T BE A BARTENDER. Go sit in a cubicle and be miserable. You don’t necessarily have to be entertaining but you at least have to be pleasant and affable. If a guest annoys you laugh it off and let it roll off of your back, most are at the bar to have a great time so don’t take it out on them. Tending bar should be fun. End of rant.

What is the cleverest line anyone has tried on you in order to garner a free drink?

A rather disheveled gentleman approached the bar and asked for a drink and then explained that he had no money but told me if I bought him one he would “pay it forward”. I spent the next 10 minutes explaining to him how that wasn’t how paying it forward works but he didn’t get it. Buying him a drink would have been a better option as I will never get those lost minutes back.

What is the best/worst pick up line you have heard at the bar?

A guy came up and started talking to a girl at the bar and told her he could guess where she had gone to college. She laughed and told him that it was a very small and obscure school and that he had no chance of guessing it. He laughed as well and then said “fine, if I guess it then you have to make out with me”. She agreed and said he had one guess. He made a show of analyzing her and then said “Longwood University”. Her jaw dropped and I knew he had gotten it correct. They left together a few minutes later. He came in a few weeks later and told me that his sister had gone to college there and that he had recognized her from a picture. Well played. If you ever sit at my bar, ask me about the worst one. I can’t tell it here.

Tell us about an interesting encounter you have had with a customer/customers.

While working the main bar at Old Ebbitt Grill in Georgetown, Dennis Leary and his girlfriend sat at my bar. Unlike most celebrities who want to understandably be left alone, he had the whole bar cracking up and was encouraging people to engage him. A younger girl was sitting at the window across from the bar with her mom and she kept looking at him and pointing but never approached. At one point she had her back turned and was looking out the window when he came up behind her and said “are you going to come over and say hi?” She freaked out and he spent a good 15 minutes taking pics and chatting with her and her mom.

If you could sit down with anyone past or present and have a cocktail, who would that be?

The easiest of questions. Hands down it is Nikola Tesla.

Steve is behind the bar working a double on Saturdays and Tuesdays, Sunday nights and Monday days.

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