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 Examiner weekly feature, we talk to some of our local bartenders to find out.
550 Geary St., (415) 292-6360 www.cortezrestaurant.com
Young Zachary Fisher, 23, recently made his bartending debut at the swanky Cortez Restaurant, located inside the Hotel Adagio, just north of The City’s theater district. He’s been shaking things up behind the bar for more than four months, but Fisher’s already gotten a taste for mixing it up. However, he’s no stranger to Cortez’s San Francisco executive clientele — he has been waiting tables at the establishment for a year.
How long have you been drinking? Seven years. Something like that. That’s why I can’t drink vodka anymore, because that was always the easiest thing to steal.
What’s the drink you’ve been making lately? Cucumber Gimlet. It’s the most popular drink at the bar.
What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen while tending bar or waiting tables? I’ve seen drunk people get on the bar and fall out of their seats. I’ve also seen people meeting for the first time, and people leaving together.
How many times a week do you get hit on by people sitting at the bar? It doesn’t happen that often. Maybe once or twice a month.
Does it work? Sometimes.
How many times a week do you hit on people sitting at the bar? I got a girlfriend, so I got to restrict myself.
What’s your favorite drink that you serve? The El Diablo: tequila, crème de cassis, fresh lime and ginger beer.
Where do you drink? Zeitgeist or Toronado. Or Swig because it’s right across the street.
Where does one go to get the best drink in The City? It’s probably here. Though, usually if I go to a bar, I’ll get a beer or a shot.
So what’s the deal with carding? When do you know to do it? You can kind of tell when someone hasn’t been into a bar. Or they look nervous. Or they look young.
Is there a typical drink the underage order? Yeah, they’ll get a gin and tonic.
What’s your signature drink? I put together Don Julio, apple juice, and some rosemary. It’s my creation, my first: the Sebastopol. It’s an apple town and that’s where I’m from.
Do you have to bartend at all parties now, either yours or someone else’s? No! Though I did a little bit at my birthday party. I made my drink and like two others, and that was it.
Which do you inevitably choose: dive bar or swank bar? Dive bar.
Gin or vodka? Tequila.
What’s your biggest pet peeve? People who you can just tell have been waited on for so long they don’t appreciate it anymore. People who want to tell you how to do your job.
Has anyone told you their life story over drinks? Not yet.
» Three parts house-infused cucumber Skyy vodka
» One part fresh-squeezed lime
» One part simple syrup
» Garnish with fresh slices of cucumber