"Schiller’s has such great lighting it’s hard not to look good in it."Photo: Melissa Hom
Last week’s Valentine’s Day celebrations made us wonder what the loveage scene was like at Schiller’s, one of the city’s most romantic — or, romantically lit, anyway — restaurants. Who better to answer that question than veteran bartender (and emcee of hip-hop band Spoken Movement) Corey Lima, who, in addition to being the creator of the Delancey martini, is also, we discovered, a matchmaker, consoler, and every now and then, an object of desire.
How often will people make out at the bar?
Two weeks ago, this couple met each other, and within ten minutes they were making out at the bar. They went downstairs for twenty minutes. Schiller’s has such great lighting it’s hard not to look good in it.
Do you see a lot of hookups?
One time I introduced a couple of girls to my friend, they chatted it up for a couple hours, they left and hung out for the rest of night. That’s all I’ll say about that. What happens at Schiller’s stays at Schiller’s!
Do you get hit on much by single girls?
I become quite attractive after three or four drinks. And I get funnier. Really shy girls will come in. They have a couple drinks, talk a little bit more, look a little bit more, and then they give you their number. You’re onstage — people’s view of you is kind of warped.
Do guys get jealous of you?
I was serving a young lady and her boyfriend. She paid the check. He went to go get his jacket, and she put her number inside the postcard with her check over it. He comes back. I take the check and leave the postcard. He looks down, and I look down, and we look up at each other. He left quick.
Do you ever overhear anything juicy?
There have been girls at my bar that have just found out that their boyfriend was cheating on them. Besides the tears and the comforting, you have to slow them down on the alcohol.
Do people open up to you in ways you wish they wouldn’t?
There’s this innocent, middle-aged couple; the guy is always trying to get sexual stories out of me. He’s been with his wife since he was like 15; one of the first times I met him, he asked about swinger clubs in the area. He always asks after the second drink — his wife is like, “Stop it, stop it.”
What’s the best tip you’ve gotten?
There’s this one gentleman that comes in and orders a drink and drops a hundred and says “hold it,” and then he never comes back to the bar. I usually get a $90 tip out of it.
What’s the secret to a good drink?
It’s all balance: fresh ingredients and knowing how to use them with sweet ingredients — triple sec, or simple syrup — to balance it.
What’s your favorite drink on the menu?
The wet ginger martini; it’s made with Beefeater gin infused with pear. If people ask, “Can I have it with vodka?” I usually throw at them, “Only if you’re allergic to gin.”
Ever have an accident shaking a drink?
A year ago the GM was sitting at the bar with a bar manager at Balthazar. He orders a drink. I didn’t knock the tin to the glass well enough, so I’m shaking it in front of me and they separate and the whole margarita goes in my face and on my shirt! The GM was like, “You’re lucky that happened at the beginning of the shift or you could’ve killed someone.” You only make that kind of mistake once.
Do people ever put your spacious bathrooms to creative use?
When you walk in [to the communal washing area] the sink kind of seems like a trough. It’s happened several times where a guy comes to me and says, “You’ll never believe what I just did.” I’m like, “I know what you did.” Then a girl comes to me and says, “You’ll never believe what I just saw,” and I’m like, “I know what you saw.” —Daniel Maurer