Going out for a drink, cocktail, nightcap, or whatever you want to call it is about more than just having a drink. It's about atmosphere and relationships.This week I am going to crown the first "Best Bartender in Amarillo."

What makes a good bartender? Is it more than just knowing how to mix a drink? Thinking about my favorite bartenders, the reason why they're my favorite has more to do with personality than the drink itself.

A good bartender is quick and doesn't keep you waiting. No matter the size of the rush, they move through the line of thirsty patrons with efficiency. Added points when they don't have to ask you twice for what you want.

A good bartender also possesses a certain charm that makes you forget about your wait. Even the way they ask you for your order almost feels like a compliment in and of itself. In larger establishments with more than one bar, that subtle charm makes you seek them out instead of going to another line.

In places where the atmosphere is more relaxed, they always know how to gauge when enough conversation is enough. Feeling like just another random face in the crowd is bad enough, but a bartender that won't shut up is just as bad. The best bartenders know how to make just enough conversation to keep you in your seat without making you wish you could head for the door.

So I've been judging bartenders in the area based on these criteria:

  1. Speed
  2. Mix/Pour
  3. Bedside Manner
  4. Overall Experience

If you have any recommendations, let me know and we'll pay them a visit. This week we will crown "The Best Bartender in Amarillo."

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