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The Metro Bars & Clubs 2005 Guide
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Bartender Profiles

John Goldstein
O'Flaherty's/Studio 8

A DAY IN THE LIFE of John Goldstein is no easy feat. He often works late into the night at Studio 8, which sends him to bed somewhere around 3 to 4am. However, he would have it no other way, as his easy-going nature permits Goldstein to truly love what he does.

"I'm known for doing 30 drink orders at one time, so speed is my forte," he says. "I've had a great time doing it; it's really fun, the money's phenomenal, and in a building like that [Studio 8] it's incredible. It's something that belongs in Las Vegas. but it's here in downtown San Jose. It's just breathtaking. It's one of the most put-together venues I've ever done in my life and I've done some really big venues."

His days are spent at O'Flaherty's; a welcoming pub of the Irish persuasion,. "O'Flaherty's brings in a very nice crowd. It goes all the way from college students to police officers to lawyers, San Jose civilians, locals—you get a real mix of everything," says Goldstein. Indeed, the atmosphere at O'Flaherty's is spacious and airy, the open doors resembling open walls which reveal the front of San Pedro Square.

"The crowd is usually here to kick back and relax. The settings of the bar here are very pleasant, comfortable and warm," he says. "We have some Irish music come in; it's live, all acoustic, with no amplifiers. It's very nice, very quaint, it's perfect for a Sunday evening." So you can imagine that Studio 8 is quite a change of pace. His night and day jobs are like—well, night and day. Most of Studio 8's clientele, he says, are in their 20s, very hip and metropolitan and ready to dance.

"It's a huge contrast," he says. "It's everything you want in a super megastyle lounge/club."

Georgie Unwin
Mission Ale House

MISSION ALE HOUSE on Santa Clara Street has been a dependable hot spot for college students, party-goers and San Jose locals for almost 10 years, so who better to inquire about its history than Georgie Unwin, who has been bartending at Mission Ale ever since it arrived on the scene.

Although Mission Ale has been wildly successful over the years, what it is best known for is the diversity in customers who have shown up for drinks.

"It's different from days to nights," says Unwin. "During the day we get a lot of locals, as well as some construction workers from the area, and everything in between, like students. And when I work at night, we get a lot of students, or people who go out to clubs; you really get a great mix of people here."

You can often find Unwin chatting with regular customers while she works. "Regulars are probably our main clientele," she says. "But every day we're establishing new regulars, and that's the basis of what we want. But we certainly have our loyal regulars who have been coming since we opened nine years ago. It's a good group of people who come in here."

It's clear that not much surprises Unwin anymore—not after half-naked girls dancing on the bar.

"Well, you get girls in here dancing on the bar and flashing, you get couples making out, there's even a paddle here to spank guys with!" she says. Hanging above Unwin's head there is indeed a long wooden paddle with "SJSU" printed in bright yellow, and Unwin is not shy about it.

"The Paddle originally started when girls would dance on the bar, and a guy would want a shot, and the girls would spank them with it!" she says. "Then there was a night where the girls wore Catholic School uniforms with knee highs, and then they used the paddle again. And it hurts, too! Yeah, you don't want to be hit with that."

Stephanie Marshall

ANY BARTENDER who works at night gets a fascinating view of the local scene, but Stephanie Marshall truly sees it all: by day, she works at Arcadia's, where she's been a bartender for a year and a half; by night, she works at Jack's. Between the two, she knows the bar scene inside and out.

"In Arcadia's you either get a lot of business people who just come in for a few days and maybe a few regulars, but at the local bar I work at, that's where you see the most regulars," says Marshall. "It's like a little Cheers bar where everybody knows everybody; as soon as the customers walk in, I know what type of beer they're going to be drinking."

Though some might not be able to maintain that kind of schedule, Marshall is able to keep her sense of humor when things get a little nuts. She's seen her share of anarchy and has plenty of wild stories from her time on the job. Some of the wildest customers have even made room for Metro in their little bit of bar folklore.

"There was this guy who got so drunk that we had to tell him to go outside, where he reached over and threw a Metro newspaper stand at the door, because he was trying to get in the bar to apologize to me," she says. Needless to say, police involvement was imminent. Marshall has advice for bartenders who might not be used to the more adventurous end of the business.

"It's funny because I'm so small, and it's hard for me to get in between people [if they fight], but usually bartenders who are always in that type of environment really should try to stay behind the bar and let the fight break itself up."

Luckily, she's not going to run into anything like that very often. But she does have a more practical guideline that she calls "Bartender Rule 101: "We see nothing, and we know nothing. If anybody's wife calls, they're not there!"

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From the June 22-28, 2005 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2005 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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