Welcome to Girl Walks Into a Bar, a weekly Gut Check feature that spotlights local bars and bartenders. This week, Kaitlin Steinberg profiles Bob Dolan of The Dubliner. Below is a Q&A with Dolan, followed by his recipe for a Bee Tea.
Bob Dolan is a man of simple tastes and few words.
He loves vodka, but he appreciates anything Irish. He's polite to customers even when they're rude to him. He'll listen to your conversations at the bar, but he won't butt in. He just likes to listen.
Dolan has been bartending since 1985, and he's been at the Dubliner (1025 Washington Avenue; 314-421-4300) since 2007, a year after it opened. He worked at Krueger's Bar in University City for a while, in addition to holding court at the Forest Park golf course and the Dubliner.
These days, he's mainly at the Dubliner, a large Irish pub-style bar downtown. The Dubliner is more open and airy than the typical Irish pub, but Dolan brings an air of familiarity to it that makes you feel like you're at the local corner bar being served by your regular bartender, even if you've never been there before.
As the Dubliner prepares for the crowds that are sure to come on St. Paddy's Day, Dolan goes about his business around the bar slowly and methodically, fixing drinks and greeting new customers like old friends.
Describe your bartending style in three words. Lack of style. I don't really have a style. I'm just sort of myself.
A girl walks into a bar and orders a _____. She has just earned your undying admiration. A shot and a beer. How 'bout a shot of Jamey and a Guinness.
Other than your own place, where do you go to get a good drink? And what do you get? Oh Lord, I don't really drink anymore. If I'm going to go out and drink, I want to go somewhere I can get a nice pour. Like Bruno's on Hampton. I just get a vodka and soda with a lemon.
What is one thing that most people don't realize about crafting cocktails or bartending? When making a drink, you can always add more of something. If you're afraid you're putting too much of something in, just err on the low side cause you can always add to it. You can't take it out once you make a drink. That's something I tell our younger bartenders.
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