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 Examiner weekly feature, we talk to some of our local bartenders to find out.
2247 Market St., S.F.; (415) 621-5256; www.lime-sf.com
Sitting in Lime’s space-age lounge is a fun trip into the future and the past. A blend of shockingly white ottomans and groovy red lighting make us feel as if we are kicking back on a spaceship from the 1970s. Boo-Boo Jen is Lime’s feisty mixology maven. You might say she’s the bar’s Mission Control, with a watchful eye and near obsessive-compulsive hand. We drank in the heavenly mix of R&B and ’80s classics blasting from the speakers and savored some of the kitchen’s addictive fixins, namely the deviled eggs.
How did you get into bartending? I actually always wanted to be a bartender ever since I saw “Cocktail.” I was really young.
Were you like 4? It just looked like so much fun. I was with a coffee company for five years, and I thought I could do the same thing with liquor and make so much more money. And I was totally right.
Where was your first gig? This is the only bar I’ve worked at. I started as a barback. I, unlike other bar backs, was promoted extremely quickly. In three months I was promoted to bar manager. It’s been a year since I demoted myself back to bartender.
Why would you demote yourself? I wanted the freedom to leave work and hang out with my friends. It’s overrated being a manager. I was having nightmares about it.
When you go out, what do you typically drink? A bottle of beer, just because of consistency. I’m one of those bartenders who if I don’t make it, I won’t want it. It gets under my skin when I see bartenders not doing it the way I’d be doing it.
OK, so what do you make for yourself, then? Jameson on the rocks. If you are a drinker, you stick to one thing.
You have an interesting name. It’s a nickname, but it’s what my mother calls me. Instead of “Mama” and “Dada,” I would say “Boo-Boo.” Then I was such a tomboy growing up, I’d have bruises all overmy body from skateboarding. I tried to shake it, but it just stuck. It really is just my name.
Now what’s this I hear about you guys having a crazy Sunday brunch? Oh my gosh, it’s absolute chaos!
Because of the bottomless Mimosas? Yeah. Just because it’s a bottomless Mimosa doesn’t mean you have to find the bottom of that Mimosa. I understand it’s a party, and I want it to be fun, but … dancing on the furniture? We’ve had people come in, have a drink, and then jump! I’d expect it from the younger people, but we have 40- and 50-year-old men who do it. I’m like, really, I want to meet your mother.
Do you have a remedy for a hangover, especially for all those Sunday brunch people? First drink water, then orange juice. But the water is always first. Then a big plate of eggs, and then, after everything settles, have a beer. If you have more than one [beer], then you have to repeat the whole process.
RUBY RED GUAVA COSMOPOLITAN
» 1½ ounces Absolut Ruby Red vodka
» 1 ounce Cointreau
» 1 ounce guava juice
» ½ freshly squeezed lime
Fill cocktail shaker with ice and add vodka, Cointreau, guava juice and lime juice. Shake and strain into a martini glass.