September 2020

8 Bartenders We Love

Author: Special to CH2 | Photographer: M.KAT Photography

In times like these, there is nothing more important than self-care. To truly get your heart and mind balanced, you can turn to a psychiatrist. To ease your anxieties and calm your nerves, you can turn to a pharmacist. To share your concerns and get a second opinion on your life’s journey, you can turn to a friend.

Or, if you’re looking to go the efficient route, you can turn to a practitioner of that most noble profession, one which embodies all three: the bartender.

On paper, the bartender’s job is simply transactional. You slide over a few bills and he or she either pours a frothy pint or whips up a carefully crafted cocktail. But in practice, bartenders’ jobs go much deeper. They can be a sounding board for your biggest gripes, a focus group for that million-dollar idea that always seems to be found at the bottom of a glass, and that trusted advisor who will take your secrets to their grave.

They are perhaps our most unsung essential workers, working on the front lines of our recovery. As we knock back those first pints of post-COVID freedom, it seems like a good time to raise a glass to our bartenders.


Monica L Collins
Bartending since: 1998

Where do you currently tend bar?
Whiskey Room Kitchen and Cocktails

Person you would most like to pour a drink for and have a chat with at your bar.
Ernest Hemingway

What is your favorite bar in the Lowcountry, besides the one where you work?
Cool Cats & Chez George Bistro Bar

At the end of my shift, I pour myself…
A gin gimlet … or maybe whiskey, depending on the day!

I secretly groan when I hear someone order this drink:
Lemon drop martini

Did you have a mentor/or barkeep you learned a lot from?
My eight years with Outback Steakhouse taught me so much in the FOH. Then the freedom I had at Country Club of Little Rock inspired me to do whatever I wanted with cocktails and however I wanted with spirits and other ingredients.

What is the best pick-up line you’ve ever seen work?
“Pretty sure my bourbon on the rocks is jealous.” (But why?) “Because you’re the most intoxicating thing in this place.”

Have you ever had to throw someone out of the bar?
Twice. Maybe three times, but who’s counting?

Do you have an original drink recipe that you came up with?
The cocktails at Whiskey Room are all my creations. They do change. I am constantly trying to stay ahead of the industry by teaching people something new about libations and all things whiskey.


Eric Haley
Bartending since: Prohibition

Where do you currently tend bar?
Alexander’s

Person you would most like to pour a drink for and have a chat with at your bar.
My mother, Sharon. She’s been drinking my Bordeaux Manhattans lately.

Have you ever had to throw someone out of the bar?
I have had to throw not even a handful of people out over the years. I’m in upscale dining, so it doesn’t happen that often.

At the end of my shift, I pour myself…
A shot of Woodford rye

I secretly groan when I hear someone order this drink:
Probably a Negroni; I’m told I make an excellent one using Bulrush, but I can’t stand to drink them; the Campari gets me.

Did you have a mentor/or barkeep you learned a lot from?
My old friend Toby taught me bartending at age 19 at a Chuck Muer restaurant up North, and he taught me the importance of a strong sense of urgency.

What is the best pick-up line you’ve ever seen work?
“Is this seat taken?” works way too often in my bar for some reason.

Do you have an original drink recipe that you came up with?
Grapefruit Cosmo is my first signature cocktail; peach old fashioned is my biggest seller;
and the French cucumber 75 is my newest invention.


Jen Kane
Bartending since: 1999

Where do you currently tend bar?
CQ’s

Person you would most like to pour a drink for and have a chat with at your bar.
Adam Schefter. I’d love to be able to get the inside scoop on all the sports gossip. And Taylor Swift because … Taylor Swift.

What is your favorite bar in the Lowcountry, besides the one where you work?
I’m more of a restaurant bar person than actual bars. I love Santa Fe Cafe and Frosty Frog.

At the end of my shift, I pour myself…
Usually water … or bourbon. Depends on the night.

I secretly groan when I hear someone order this drink:
Secretly I groan when anyone orders anything muddled or a key lime martini.

Did you have a mentor/or barkeep you learned a lot from?
No mentor.

What is the best pick-up line you’ve ever seen work?
I’ve seen some pick-ups, but none of them are smooth at all and involve some locals… Bartenders have confidentiality right?

Do you have an original drink recipe that you came up with?
I serve a special non-alcoholic drink with ginger beer, apple and cranberry juice. You can also add bourbon if you need a kick.


Janelle Sherman
Bartending since: 1987

Where do you currently tend bar?
Every Tuesday through Saturday at Nunzio Restaurant + Bar

Person you would most like to pour a drink for and have a chat with at your bar.
My dad. He lives in Reading, Pennsylvania where he owned our local corner bar, Sam’s Goose House. He named it after his grandfather who sold his farm and livestock except for one goose. Grandpa Sam used to bring his goose into the bar for a shot of whiskey. Guess you can say I grew up in bars. I miss my dad.

What is your favorite bar in the Lowcountry, besides the one where you work?
It would have to be Ela’s on the Water in Shelter Cove Marina. That’s where my better half, David Hanley, bartends.

At the end of my shift, I pour myself…
A chilled crisp sauvignon blanc

I secretly groan when I hear someone order this drink:
Miami Vice (pina colada & strawberry daiquiri combination). Thank goodness we do not have a blender at this bar.

Did you have a mentor/or barkeep you learned a lot from?
Jeff Mixx from the original Remy’s days. I learned how to work and talk at the same time and to always face paper money in the same direction.

What is the best pick-up line you’ve ever seen work?
“I think you’re suffering from a lack of vitamin me.”

Have you ever had to throw someone out of the bar?
Every once in a while. Mostly at Prime Tyme in the early ’90s.

Do you have an original drink recipe that you came up with?
Yes, Secret Pineapple. You have to come and see me to get one. It’s a secret!


Frank Shupp
Bartending since: 1989

Where do you currently tend bar?
Captain Woody’s in Bluffton

Person you would most like to pour a drink for and have a chat with at your bar.
The person I would most like to pour a drink for and have a chat with at the bar would be Flip Pallot. He was a cool dude who loved fishing and the outdoors. He had a way with words about life and nature; he seemed to really enjoy the simple life.

What is your favorite bar in the Lowcountry, besides the one where you work?
My favorite “bar” is the one I create on my boat while cruising Broad Creek at sunset with my wife.

At the end of my shift, I pour myself…
It used to be a Dirty Frank (bourbon and ginger with a lime), but now it’s a Pink Drink (vodka, water with a splash of cran-raspberry); go figure. I guess we do mellow with age.

I secretly groan when I hear someone order this drink:
It used to be any frozen drink, but now working without blenders, I guess it would be an Irish car bomb.

Did you have a mentor/or barkeep you learned a lot from?
That’s easy: Andy Jeffrey. You know the saying, “He would give you the shirt off his back”? Andy wouldn’t give customers his own shirt, but he was known to buy sweatshirts for customers who were cold.

What is the best pick-up line you’ve ever seen work?
None that I’ve heard have ever worked, but there is one that I will never forget. I overhead a guy tell my friend, “I bet hearing you fart is like listening to a choir of angels sing.”

Have you ever had to throw someone out of the bar?
See above.

Do you have an original drink recipe that you came up with?
This is a shout-out to the old school South Beach gang: nuts and berries with potatoes (it’s Frangelico and Chambord with vodka). It’s not original but sure is tasty.


Michael Hodge
Bartending since: 2005

Where do you currently tend bar?
Southern Barrel

Person you would most like to pour a drink for and have a chat with at your bar.
Freddy Mercury, but if we are talking a living person … my grandpa, Bob. With COVID going on, I haven’t been able to visit him in New Orleans. He is a blast, especially with a few bourbons in him.

What is your favorite bar in the Lowcountry, besides the one where you work?
R Bar. Love sports, and R Bar is a great place to watch them. Plus, Brittany, Brandon, Tanya and crew are always awesome.

At the end of my shift, I pour myself…
A Damn Yankee IPA and a chilled shot of El Jimador tequila.

I secretly groan when I hear someone order this drink:
Over the years, this has changed according to where I am working. Now, I cringe anytime someone orders a beer with sprite or lemonade in it.

Did you have a mentor/barkeep you learned a lot from?
I’ve worked with so many bartenders over the years and have learned a lot from all of those people. I am not sure who said it, but treating people as if they are there for more than a drink is the best policy. Introduce people to others; don’t make them wait; make suggestions on what to drink next; teach guests something they didn’t know about their drink or the establishment. Making it an experience is what has always allowed me to be successful, especially in a brewery where “bartender” is a loose term considering we don’t have a “full” bar.

What is the best pick-up line you’ve ever seen work?
My parents aren’t home, and they have a hot tub.

Have you ever had to throw someone out of the bar?
Oh yeah! I bounced for years too. I worked at a place that did 25 cent wings and $4 pitchers of Bud Light on Monday nights. We’d cut off and throw out 10 people a night!

Do you have an original drink recipe that you came up with?
I’ve always played with old standards and made them my own. SoCo Manhattans, Hodge-a-ritas, Habanero Blood Marys. Those days are gone since I’ve been slinging beer at Southern Barrel for five years.


Tanya Capria
Bartending since: 1997

Where do you currently tend bar?
R Bar & Grill

Person you would most like to pour a drink for and have a chat with at your bar.
Josh Allen. We could shotgun a beer and talk about the Bills’ domination this year!

What is your favorite bar in the Lowcountry besides the one where you work?
I don’t get to go out too much, but I would have to say the Dispensary is cool. Great food and bartenders!

At the end of my shift, I pour myself…
An Ultra and a shot of Hornitos.

I secretly groan when I hear someone order this drink:
“Something fruity,” or “Surprise me.”

Did you have a mentor/or barkeep you learned a lot from?
Ben Berenson—one of my first bar trainers back in Buffalo. He taught me to always keep an eye on my surroundings and how to always be one step ahead.

What is the best pick-up line you’ve ever seen work?
I have seen so many pick-up lines in my 23 years of bartending. I’m not really sure if it’s the lines that actually work or the alcohol! Hahaha!

Have you ever had to throw someone out of the bar?
Unfortunately, several times.

Do you have an original drink recipe that you came up with?
The Golden Lasso—a layered drink consisting of grenadine, peach schnapps, melon liqueur, OJ, pineapple juice, and blue curacao.


Michael Hays
Bartending since: 1991
(the good ol’ college days)

Where do you currently tend bar?
I’m currently working at Tiki Hut and am in holding for Fat Baby’s.

Person you would most like to pour a drink for and have a chat with at your bar.
The two people I would love to pour a drink for and chat with are Michael Jordan and Kurt Russell.

What is your favorite bar in the Lowcountry, besides the one where you work?
My favorite bar is Pool Bar Jim’s, for obvious reasons.

At the end of my shift, I pour myself…
A large glass of water and a shot of tequila.

I secretly groan when I hear someone order this drink:
The extra dry martini. Just order a chilled vodka or gin up! Lol

Did you have a mentor/or barkeep you learned a lot from?
I have three mentors: Douglas Coughlin and Brian Flanagan. If you watched movies in the ’80s, you know them both! Lol. The other is Patty Jeffrey. She was the best; God rest her soul. I think about her every shift because there is always something that I handled just like she would have, or I wish I would have handled it like she would have.

What is the best pick-up line you’ve ever seen work?
Hey, nice shoes, you want to… Truth is, pick-up lines never work. They are funny, though.

Have you ever had to throw someone out of the bar?
I have had to throw people out of the bar, in my younger days of course. It’s always a last resort.

Do you have an original drink recipe that you came up with?
We made a shot called the OG back in the day. It was orange and grape vodka, triple sec and a splash of sprite. Pretty tasty if I do say so myself. 

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