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Jan 24, 2018
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Posts Tagged ‘Elijah Barnes’

Readers’ Choice Bartenders of the Year

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

bartenders

{from left, Elijah Barnes, Terry Oliver and Tony Saputo at Frazer’s }

What has been your most awkward moment on the job? 

“I had to cut off two guys who I’ve known for a long time as regulars [on different nights]. One I coaxed into drinking some coffee and eating something, but the other guy didn’t take it well at all. He stood up and got huffy. They decided they were never coming back. I felt bad, but at the end of the day you’re just trying to look out for them. They did eventually come back, though they didn’t mention what happened. Everyone’s on good terms.” – Winner, Elijah Barnes at ClevelandHeath

“One of the regulars at a bar I worked at was a call girl, and she met all of her johns at the bar. She’d come and go several times a night. I think she knew that I knew. Making small talk was really hard. You couldn’t really ask her, ‘How’s tricks?’” – 2nd Place, Tony Saputo at Atomic Cowboy

“We had a group that came in for a few hours and had a good time. One woman went to the bathroom and came back out, and their server came up to me and said, ‘That woman isn’t wearing any pants.’ I told him she was probably just wearing flesh-colored tights or something. He came back and said, ‘Nope, she’s not wearing any pants.’ Sure enough, she was buck-naked from the waist down. I went to the one woman in the group I knew and told her about it. She pulled her friend aside, and her friend said, ‘Oh my God, who took my pants?’ Thankfully all of the other guests were gone.” – 3rd Place, Terry Oliver at Frazer’s

Photo by Jonathan Gayman 

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Ones to Watch 2017: Elijah Barnes of Cleveland-Heath

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

OTW_Elijah_Blog_Jan17

 

Title: Bar manager and head bartender, Cleveland-Heath
Age: 29
Why watch him: He created a bar program that keeps pace with one of the area’s best kitchens.

Eight years ago, Elijah Barnes was learning how to mix a Lobsterita. Now he’s in charge of one of the most thoughtful bar programs in the Metro East. Here’s how he got from there to here and a look at where the nomad is headed next.

Red Lobster, Fairview Heights, 2007
“I took an interest in bartending when I was 19 and a server at Red Lobster. As soon as I turned 21, I started training at the bar. Before long, I was tending more than serving, and then I was doing inventory and more of the systems work.”

Cleveland-Heath, Edwardsville, 2011
“Opening the bar at Cleveland-Heath was scary. We had next to no budget to stock the bar, and I had no experience writing a cocktail menu. I experimented at home and read books. We ended up with seven cocktails that all used local soda. Seven soda cocktails. It’s horrifying. … I had a huge hurdle to get the bar program where we wanted it to be.”

Tales of the Cocktail, New Orleans, 2013
“They advertise correctly: the end-all, be-all for bartender education. The first year I booked every single time slot I could. I was in class more than six hours a day. I was there to learn. … When I went this year, I focused on management rather than, ‘Let’s taste a bunch of scotch and yell about it.’”

Buck and Breck, Berlin, Germany, 2016
“I travel for my own personal pleasure and sanity, but always with a focus on what’s happening in bars and the experience in different markets. In Berlin, there are all these over-the-top speakeasies. You go to this unmarked door and knock. Someone slides the window open and sometimes lets you in.”

Cleveland-Heath, Edwardsville, 2017
“We never expected to have a really high-end cocktail bar,” said co-owner Ed Heath. “He came in and took it to another level. He works like me, like a chef – he comes in and has to do his mise en place, his inventory, his ordering. His creativity is through the roof. He is as important as an executive chef.”

Destination Unknown, 2021
“Bartending is a young man’s game, and I’m starting to feel the physical wear and tear. I plan on teaching spirits classes. I’ve also been consulting with a restaurant in Salt Lake City and thought about being a brand ambassador. Those may be directions I’d like to head.”

 

Photo by Carmen Troesser

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