My DC in 2013: Paul

All of my fondest memories of 2013 have happened in a bar. Whether I was on the good side or the better side of the bar, I’ve loved every minute. I got offered three jobs (including this one!) just going out for a drink. And I took all of them, along with one more, because I want to see as much of this city as I can. Sometimes it can be exhausting and emotionally draining, and it beats the crap out of your body (what’s that, four AM yoga so my neck isn’t stiff as a board tomorrow?), but it’s the best job I’ve ever had

On bad days, tending  bar can feel a bit like lion taming–at least I wish I had a whip whenever someone orders half a dozen mojitos (back, you animals!). And I may have developed bartending-induced ADD.My roommate pointed it out one day when I had two things cooking on the stove, one in the oven, another in a crock pot, something being prepped on the counter, the TV going, music blaring, and I was making something like my second or third pot of tea of the day. And I was chatting incessantly. I prefer to see it as I get restless without proper stimulation. At least I can list “able to multitask effectively” on my resume if I ever get tired of my life resembling a Velvet Underground song and get a normal job. But that’s not going to happen any time soon, I am loving this too much.

I love every damned time I get called Freddie Mercury; I literally cannot get enough of that. I love cutting ice blocks with a saw and a blowtorch. Professionally speaking, any day that I get to wield sharp objects and fire is a good day. I love that I got a fancy wine rep to drink Woodford Reserve out of a marrow luge. All chef had to say was “she’s a VIP, take care of her.” All right then, send out some roasted bone marrow and we’ll make this happen. Directions for a marrow luge: roast bone marrow, sup on the luscious marrow, when you’ve cleared the bone, cup it in your hand, put your lips to one end and let your handsome, mustachioed bartender pour expensive bourdon down your throat.

By far though, my favorite moments behind the bar are whenever someone comes in, acts cool, and is eager to try something new. I love to learn and I love people who are just as excited about this stuff as I am. Come in with questions, I’ve got all these fun things to play with, let’s make something really special for you. That’s what I love about tending bar and DC, you’ve spoiled me in 2013. I can’t wait for next year.

Paul Allen

While having only recently relocated to DC, Paul has been a long time fan of DC’s cocktail culture. In his short career he has tended bar for GQ, Bombay Sapphire, Campari, and Nikka Whisky in London. Currently you can find him behind the stick at Firefly. When not working, he’s likely vociferously advocating for the DC Craft Bartender’s Guild or trying to brew the perfect cup of tea. Though he misses his native Rhode Island’s beaches and beautiful fall weather, Paul is proud to live, work, and–most importantly–drink in DC.


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