Bartenders spend most of their time, well, tending to you. They make you drinks, make you laugh and convince you that your drunken babble is nothing short of genius. Or at least the good ones do. In our new weekly series, Bartenders Bible, we’ll be letting the folks manning the speedrails and taps around town have their say. Each week we’ll apply the same questions to a different drinkslinger until we’ve created a compendium of Philly’s top ‘tenders. Colin Shearn of The Franklin Mortgage and Investment Co. has graciously agreed to pop - muddle? - the cherry as our first interviewee, sharing with us what makes a good customer, his best bartending joke and what exactly is wrong with Arthur Kade.
Name: Colin Shearn
Location: The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co.
Tenure at the Franklin: Since day one. Which I guess makes about three to four months.
Bartender or mixologist?: Bartender. But if you catch me on a pretentious day, barkeep. That’s what my business card says anyway.
Total years behind the bar: I started bartending in the summer of 2000.
Favorite beer: Honestly, Bud in a bottle. I know I shouldn’t say that in this town but it’s the truth. In the words of Jeffrey Morgenthaler, I want beer-flavored beer. Especially after a shift.
Favorite liquor: Hmmm, that’s tough. Depends on my mood. If you go by consumption, Old Granddad Bonded. You didn’t ask but my favorite liqueur is Green Chartreuse.
Favorite cocktail: All time? Maybe a Sidecar. But my current favorite is a Kensington. It’s a Manhattan variation created by our head bartender, Al Sotack. It’s fucking awesome!
Your best customer in five words or less: Curious. Thirsty. Rich. Funny.
Your worst customer in five words or less: Arthur Kade. Seriously, he is everything that’s wrong with this city.
All bartenders should know a good joke. What’s yours?: An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman go into a bar and order 3 pints. The Englishman sees there’s a fly in his beer and he sends it back. Demands a new one. Gets it. Drinks it. The Irishman sees there’s a fly in his beer as well. He shrugs his shoulders, picks it out and drinks. Wouldn’t you know, the Scotsman sees there’s a fly in his beer as well. Picks it out and screams at it, “Spit it out, you fucking bastard!” My dad taught me that one.
Have you ever had to break up a fight at your bar? What was it about?: Not at The Franklin. Yet.
What’s your patented drunk-handling technique?: Shame, humor and if need be, a forceful hand.
It’s okay to sleep with customers. Yes or no?: Yes. See below.
The best tip you ever got: My fiancee’s phone number.
What’s the best part of the job?: It’s sounds corny but making people happy. It’s easy when you’re giving them sweet, sweet alcohol.
What’s the worst part of the job?: Living in an alternate universe where stores are never open when i need them to be, where breakfast is eaten after work at Little Pete’s with drunks, hookers and the walking dead, where the weekend starts on Wednesday, where people call you before noon as if you’re awake, where you drink while you work (sometimes too much, but somehow never enough) and you sing for your supper.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever seen at your bar?: Arthur Kade. Don’t worry, he’s now banned for life.
Why should people get a drink from you rather than the bartender down the block?: In the words of Nick Jarrett, The Franklin is the fucking tits.
What’s the secret to a great bartender?: The fuck if I know. If I become one, I’ll let you know.
Know a bartender who should be part of the Bartenders Bible? Tips accepted here.