A: I was a bartender for a good 15 years of my life. … And so that’s where I began my passion – truly a passion – for restaurant and bar culture because I think that for someone who thought that things were just drinks and just food, I realized there was much more detail that went into everything, and much more thought that went into cheeses and salads and aperitifs, digestifs. …
So I just became fascinated with it, which is why I stayed in it for so long. Even when I was building my career as an actor, writer and director, I was bartending for a long time during that time and I always felt that it was all a part of it because it was an opportunity for me to be sociable, it was an opportunity for me to create, to bring people together and gather. And so I think I’ve taken that culture from my work experience and sort of brought it into my home and brought it into sort of my work relationships as well.
Q: And as a writer, you’re observing the human condition in action in a bar.
A: Oh, it’s fantastic. It is a great setting for any creative. I always tell people bartending was my favorite thing to do. The last bar that I worked at, it was only a staff of maybe six people and basically we had ownership of it, so we sort of were able to curate what the experience was, with the jazz band, with the way people came in. I sort of made them elevate themselves to be ladies and gentlemen, that this is going to be an experience and not just come and get like a vodka cranberry and call it a day. But hey, we can go a little bit further and actually take a moment and actually enjoy what this is.
George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.