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.
8 Mission St., San Francisco; (415) 278-3777; www.americanorestaurant.com
The eye rolling is duly noted. Yes, we know that Americano is the pickup spot for The City’s social-climbing professional set. But with summer approaching, how could we possibly ignore Americano’s gigantic back patio with its outside bars and low-to-the-ground, patio-style furniture. That’s where we met up with Jackee Princeau, who keeps her cool and her grace while mixing it up for the throngs of people who crowd her bar. Princeau occasionally has time to pick up her head and get a good look at the crowd, and with that, she offered a few dating tips for the guys and gals. Dudes: Find out if a girl is with a guy before you work your magic. Dudettes: Actually, she’s got nothing for you. Women do it better.
How long have you been in The City? About two years. I’m from San Jose, but I moved to Arizona for a little while, but I didn’t like it, so I came back.
What didn’t you like about Arizona? I hate to say this, but the people. The area was a bunch of college students who only liked to party.
Were you in college? I was at fashion design school and transferred to the Academy of Art.
How’d you get into bartending? When I turned 21, I wanted to be a bartender. One of my friends was working in a bar, so she hired me. I kind of learned dive-bar style.
What cocktail best accessorizes your hand? A dirty martini.
How long have you been interested in fashion? I’ve always been interested in it. I was going to school for something else and then decided fashion was my passion.
What were you studying before? Nutritional science. It wasn’t my strongest area.
What’s the healthiest cocktail you can drink? There’s no such thing. But if I had to say one, it’s wine.
Least healthy? Piña Colada. Tons of calories. Tons of sugar.
Have you ever indulged in an all-liquid diet? No. After I left college, I realized diets are always bad for you.
It is so loud in here. How do you hear anything? Just something you have to pick up, I guess.
Have you ever outrageously misheard someone? Yes. This is so embarrassing. Someone asked for a pencil. And I asked, “What’s in that?”
If you could serve a drink to anyone, who would it be? Oprah Winfrey. She’s cool. I think she’s an amazing woman. She’s given back a lot.
Do you have any pet peeves? I find it rude when I’m really busy and people put their hands in my face.
What’s the best tip you’ve ever gotten? $100 for just a bottle of beer. It was a professional athlete, and he had a lot of money to go around, I guess.
What’s a fashion faux pas you detest? I don’t like the tights, those spandex pants that go to the ankles.
What’s the most fashionable drink out there? Mojito.
Least fashionable? A Long Island Iced Tea.
Who is your favorite designer? Christian LaCroix.
What do you predict will be the next big comeback in fashion? Tunic styles. Pants with dresses. The pin-up style.
If you could give anyone a makeover, who would it be? Hillary Clinton.
No pantsuits? At least do a wide-leg pantsuit.
Featured drink: Amarita
» 1.5 oz. Reposado tequila
» ½ oz. Cointreau
» ½ oz. Amaretto
» Splash of fresh-squeezed lime
Shake ingredients together.
Pour over glass with salted almond crusted rim.