Best Bartender (1999)

Sterling Warren Taurus Restaurant and Bar

"My bartending skills? Yeah, sure, everybody gets a glass," quips Warren, known variously as "Butch" or "Beamer." So modest. Twenty years at the Taurus and you figure he's got the fundamentals down. But sitting opposite this drinkslinger is anything but routine. He has turned the skill of bartending into the entertainment of improv theater. Every day he transmutes into a different character of his own imagining. A random stop at the Taurus on a Tuesday evening finds him wearing a sign reading "Happy Infant Safety Week." He's sporting a long-eared Goofy hat, a pacifier dangling from each of the ears. Two pairs of eyeglass frames are perched on his nose. And he has bandages, crossed in a cartoon-style X, on his cheeks. "I found my proper niche in life," the 63-year-old exults. "Where else could I make a living doing what I do and not be locked up?" He's a former actor who found bartending more suited to his tastes. "Here I can be an actor every day." He consults Chase's Calendar of Events to come up with a theme for the day. The week before his infant-safety incarnation included Audubon's birthday. For that Warren wore a bird hat and bird mask. As he scans ahead to the next week, he becomes excited by the prospects, including the Kentucky Derby, Togo Independence Day, and Tourist Day. "After a long day at work, people come in and see me and pretty much leave the seriousness behind them," Warren notes.


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