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Meet your mixologist: Bryan Lawso

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About the series: In a saloon town such as San Francisco, the bartender plays a crucial role. Confessor, friend, sounding board — the man or woman behind the plank sees to it that our needs are met with elegance, grace and often wit. They see humanity at its best and most convivial, but also offer a nod and a welcome to the lonely. But what do they see when they look at us? What are the tricks of their trade? And what lessons have they learned along the way? In this new Examiner weekly feature, we talk to some of our local bartenders to find out.

Jade Bar

650 Gough St., (415) 869-1900

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Jade Bar During a recent happy hour, we saw everyone from an orange-vested DPT employee to nicely dressed execs relishing cocktails and the refined bar snacks. The bar offers well drinks and draft beers for $2 between 5 and 7:30 p.m. Our bartender, 32-year-old bartender Bryan Lawson, oversees Jade Bar’s downstairs lounge.

So what’s the hot drink of the moment? We make a lot of sumo-jitos. It’s made with citrus vodka instead of rum. We go through about 15 to 20 every night.

What’s the strangest drink order you’ve ever taken? Red wine with ice.

What’s your signature cocktail? Tequila gimlets. I’m a big fan of tequila. Anytime I can make one, that is OK with me.

When you’re not here, where are you?I frequent Solstice, Tortilla Heights. Sometimes I go to Rye Bar.

Do people wade around in the pool you have down here in the downstairs lounge? Well, people definitely are curious about it and they’ll get in there. We try to keep people out of there.

Have you ever gotten in? Yeah. I’ve been in up to my knees. It does actually get cleaned once a week. It’d be better to have the heat turned up so it’s more like a Jacuzzi.

What’s the current temp? About 60 degrees. It’s cold. We also noticed some pennies at the bottom of the pool. Yes, it’s [also] a wishing well.

What would you wish on your penny? I guess a girlfriend would be nice at this point.

Why do you do this? It’s a great profession to be in. Other than touring with Pearl Jam, this is the next best gig.

Are you a musician? I play guitar and I’m a singer-songwriter. Some people come into the bar looking for their therapy. I go home and strum mine. I love live music.

What’s your favorite venue in The City? It’s a tossup between Great American Music Hall and The Warfield. I love the Great American simply for the amplification. Arcade Fire was my first show there. That was the first show I saw in San Francisco.

Best band out there? Arcade Fire, Radiohead, Pearl Jam, Shins, Modest Mouse, Led Zeppelin, Miles Davis.

If you could have a drink with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be? Hugh Hefner. That’s the easiest one of all. If I could be reincarnated as anyone in history, it would be him.

Since bartending, what have you learned about society? It always looks better after a shot of tequila.

FEATURED RECIPE

Sumo-jito

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» Squeeze three fresh wedges of lime into a pint glass.

» Add a handful of fresh mint leaves, a teaspoon of sugar and a dash of lime juice.

» Muddle until the mint becomes aromatic.

» Fill the rest off with ice, add ½ oz. of triple sec, 2 ounces of citrus-infused vodka.

» Shake well. Top with soda water for bubbles.

» Garnish with lime.



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