Welcome to Girl Walks into a Bar, a weekly Gut Check feature that spotlights local bars and bartenders. This week Katie Moulton profiles Venice Cafe's Misty Rose Martin. Below is a Q&A with Martin, followed by the recipe for the Brite-O Bucket.
From Tennessee to St. Louis downriver to New Orleans and back, Misty Rose Martin has tended bar in a variety of establishments - but no single establishment with as much variety per square inch as the Venice Cafe (1903 Pestalozzi, 314-772-5994). Martin bartended in Benton Park's glittering mosaic for just a year, but has more than 12 years of experience, including braving the madness of Soulard Mardi Gras from behind the bar and gossiping with bodyguards about New Orleans politics when the mayor dined at the restaurant where she worked.
Easy-going and quick to smile, Martin is a whiskey-drinking girl who seems to fit right into her vibrant, anything-goes environment. "A lot of things about this place shouldn't work," she says. "But they do."
Technically, Girl Walks Into a Bar was on duty - and that job includes drinking. Martin obliged by mixing up the house warm-weather specialty. In the bar's unique fashion, the Brite-O Bucket costs $15 ($12.50 for refills), is served in a take-home plastic pail with six straws, and made to share. It's a perfect conversation-starter - if the Venice Cafe's quirky décor, entertainment and clientele aren't enough.
Describe your bartending style in three words. Laidback, fun, potent.
My bar is the only bar in St. Louis where... You can come in any day of the year and find something new to look at. He's always building.
Girl walks into a bar, orders a ____. She just earned my undying admiration. A giant chilled shot of Jameson. I love my whiskey.
Most dumbass - or strange - drink anyone has ever asked for. People come up with a shot with a ridiculous name like the "Gorilla's Armpit," but nobody knows what's in it. The Red Bull drinks have finally slowed down. Every drink goes through phases, so a bartender just has to stay up on the trends.
Other than your own bar, where do you go to get a good drink? And what do you have? Off Broadway has fun people. Jameson on the rocks, so I can take it slow. [Laughs]
If my friends and I simply must have a round of shots, what should they be? Cherry Tootsie Pop or Breakfast in Bed, which is Jameson, followed by orange juice mixed with butterscotch. I'm a big fan of drinks that taste like food.
What's the most exciting or memorable event you've witnessed while tending bar? The Naked Bike Ride came by: none of the riders stopped, but the whole bar did!
There were plenty of memorable moments at one of the first places I worked - Double Bogey on Grand, which isn't open anymore. It's a hair salon now, which I guess makes sense since those are the only chemicals that could kill what went on in that bar... Once a woman pissed herself. I didn't know what it was; I thought somebody had left a faucet on. I took a look around the bar and said, "Oh no, I am not dealing with this." Then this guy, a regular, comes up, leans over the bar and whispers, "Give me a Busch Light and I'll take care of this." And he did!
Tell me one thing most people don't know about bartending. It's not as much about knowing how to make a drink as it is about knowing people. Even if it's not necessarily what you want to do at the time, it's about talking to people.
Brite-O Bucket 4 shots of vodka or gin 4 oz. Limeade frozen concentrate club soda spearmint Schnapps fresh mint fresh limes, cut and floating
Add ingredients to bucket, stir.