Barback Olympics: Shots of Glory


Behind every great bartender, there's probably a great barback. If nothing else, this I have learned in my short, two-year foray into the world behind the bar. At Cantina, I sometimes get to work with a great one: a kid named Anson Stahl. What more could you ask? When he's on his game, he's there handing me glassware and bottles to make a cocktail before the customer's even finished ordering. Ice, replacement bottles, straws, napkins, fresh fruit are never a worry. When I'm in the weeds, he's there pulling beers, pouring shots. The main reason he's not a full-time bartender is that he's too valuable as a bar back. (Sorry Anson!) Good help is hard to find.

Therefore, I hope he's enrolled in the 2nd annual Barback Olympics, to be held next Wednesday, the 23rd at Ruby Skye. I have no doubt he could take most of the competition—comprising of a field of barbacks from some of SF's busiest bars—in such events as the Ice Bucket Race, Bottle Relay and in complusories like restocking beers and changing kegs. He's not the biggest guy, nor the strongest, but he's wiley and energetic. Depending on the time of night, I like his chances. (If it gets late and he's had one to many shots, the balance beam would not be his strongpoint, nor the floor exercise.)

If this video of last year's olympics is any indication, this event should be very, very entertaining. And to boot, it's sponsored by SF's favorite dark, bitter, herbal beverage. I just hope there's some kind of testing of Fernet levels in all the competitors—I want to see fair competition all around.


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