Lone Palm The neighborhood bar is a great place to have a classic cocktail under dim lighting while sitting in a comfy chair at a white-cloth table, and staff members know how to make someone new feel like a regular. There’s no concrete menu and no drink specials written on the mirrored walls, but there’s a profusion of creativity. A couple of palm trees in every corner and the dim lighting make the atmosphere feel like a beach house somewhere much warmer. Bartender Marianna Southey reminds people that a key element in bartending is to make customers feel welcome, just as if they were drinking at their own homes.
Have you tended bar anywhere else?
My first place was at Randy’s Place [1101 Ocean Ave.]. I was going to school and I later met the owner, who got me a job there. She taught me a few things and I became a bartender. I also was bartending at Place Pigalle [520 Hayes St.], which is a beer and pool joint.
What do you like most about coming to work?
What I like most is getting to meet all kinds of people. I love the diversity. For me, it’s all about the people, not the booze. I love being able to introduce people to their friends and neighbors. I like to be Craigslist of the neighborhood. I love for a neighborhood bar to be a hub of the community and help facilitate that.
How long does it take you to come up with new drinks?
You can always make something up on the fly with just about anything. Lone Palm has been here for 20 years and we’re known to serve classic cocktails. I like to add some fun elements like basil or cucumber to a classic drink to give it a spin.
Has anyone ever complained about your drinks?
Not to my face. Usually they ask me to make the drink stronger. I mean, everyone asks for a strong drink and we make them pretty strong here. But I’m not going to give away the farm here all the time. People don’t come here to get hammered. It’s a neighborhood bar where people come to relax.
Do you have regulars?
We have lots of regulars. Everyone that sits in here every day either lives around the area or comes to drink occasionally. Lone Palm’s happy hour is all about the regulars. A lot of my regulars became my good, close friends that I see outside of here. When they come in, I watch their drink levels. That’s how close we are.
What makes a great bartender?
People skills, speed and efficiency, and mixology. Mixology is the rage these days, but I don’t think it’s the most important thing in a bartender. When I go into a bar, I like to feel welcomed, taken care of and want to spend money in a positive environment.
What distinguishes Lone Palm from the rest?
Lone Palm is just a classic neighborhood bar. I love that it’s nice without being pretentious; it’s cool without being a hipster hangout bar that’s intimidating. I feel it straddles those things very well.
If you could serve a drink to a celebrity, whom would it be?
I heard Woody Allen is in town, so I would love for him to come in. We also had John Waters in here a couple months ago.