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In cost behind the bar: Get to higher know Dave Serna, a real bartenders’ bartender

3 min read

It takes quite a lot of particular expertise to be a well-rounded bartender, from a information of drinks and their substances to the way you maintain your self behind the bar—and these expertise typically seem to the uninitiated as mundane or easy, making them highly effective weapons in making a room really feel cared for, and for visitors to go away pleased.

Once I consider what it means to have easy cool beneath stress, and limitless affability when wanted most, I consider Dave Serna.

Since chopping his enamel 23 years in the past at Mr. O’s (what’s now 40 Mile Saloon), Serna has labored at among the most influential bars at their inceptions, together with Chapel Tavern and Reno Public Home; he’s now at Corrigan’s Misplaced Freeway on Wells Avenue. Once I was simply starting to be taught from my first cocktail books, Serna was already working the early craft-cocktail scene in Reno, making his title often called an individual who might work any shift and make a killer drink.

“I simply took to it,” he informed me. “I really like simply attending to know all walks of life and seeing individuals who would by no means have identified each other be collectively in that second on the bar.”

It’s privilege to sit down at Dave’s bar, and that’s what it’s when Dave is working: His bar. His capacity to make everybody in a bar really feel seen and brought care of is a product of his two decades-plus within the commerce.

“You’ll be able to be taught to make drinks, however making individuals really feel protected and cared for is about treating individuals like they’re in your house,” he stated. “I wish to maintain you in my home—however it’s essential to additionally respect it.”

Serna has a approach of constructing everybody really feel comfy that even his friends acknowledge.

“Dave could make nice cocktails, however what makes him the very best bartender round is his camaraderie and dialog expertise,” stated Kyle Aiton, proprietor of Reno Public Home. “He finds methods to attach with actually everybody—the child who’s freshly 21, the retired couple, the middle-aged skilled, and the guy service employee. He embodies the concept the bar is a impartial zone, and everyone seems to be welcome. Simply don’t be a dick to the bartender.”

I requested Dave why I all the time see beverage-industry people having the very best time sitting at his bar.

“Dave could make nice cocktails, however what makes him the very best bartender round is his camaraderie and dialog expertise.”

Kyle Aiton, proprietor of Reno Public Home

“Attempt to depart dumb shit on the door,” he replied. “I recognize when individuals simply come and hang around and get in with the banter.”

Richard Jackson, the proprietor of Corrigan’s Misplaced Freeway, stated of Dave: “One of many marks of being a very good tender is whenever you discover different {industry} individuals sitting at their bar. Dave has no lack of that firm. He does an excellent job of constructing strangers and regulars alike really feel welcome.”

Greater than twenty years behind the bar could make any job really feel a bit drained, however Serna continues to method his craft with satisfaction and care. Dave makes near-perfect classics with the benefit and aplomb of a real craftsman. Former co-worker Roxanne Hamner informed me, “I’m personally grateful to have labored alongside Dave, as he has been a bridge between the times of darkish dive bars to contemporary craft cocktails. … He is aware of all of the methods and strategies.”

Once I requested Dave what makes an ideal shift behind the bar, he stated, “Everybody in good spirits, goes by fast, filled with laughter, nice music the entire time. You make a bunch of cash, and you’re dwelling approach earlier than the solar comes up.”

The concept of constructing classics excellent, treating others properly, and prioritizing laughter, music and mates makes Dave a bartender for the ages—and among the finest to pour a shot.

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