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Best Bartender Miami 2007 - Melissa Burley

Melissa Burley

Melissa Burley

222 14th St.

Miami Beach, FL 33139

305-531-6200

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Twelve years ago Melissa Burley was an overworked and underpaid teacher in Miami-Dade's public school system. She supplemented that income with a job at late-night taco institution San Loco, located within stumbling distance of Mac's Club Deuce, Miami Beach's most venerably liquor-soaked bar. Within no time Ms. Burley found a new hangout and a family of fun regulars. She spent a lot of time on the customer side of the bar. "I used to always ask Mac, 'When are you gonna hire meç'" she recalls. "One day it was raining and I asked him again. And he replied, 'What're you doing tomorrowç'" As they say, the rest is history. Burley's friends, the regulars, helped her learn the ropes — "because the customers know the bar better than the new bartenders," she laughs. In the decade that Melissa has been tending the Deuce, Miami Beach has been through bouts of popularity with Eurotrash, model types, ravers, and the hip-hop glitterati, and she's been slinging cocktails through it all. She may not be the most instantly chummy bartender you've ever had, and to hell with all of that Tom Cruise Cocktail bottle-flipping bullshit. She's a no-nonsense blond who serves her drinks strong and fast. Along the way she's adopted some basic bar rules for both tender and customer. Rule number one: "The bartender should never be drunker than the customers." Rule number two: "You always want to befriend your bartender. Cause we know a lot of things about a lot of people." Melissa is also keeper of the Deuce's legacy. She created the bar's MySpace page (www.myspace.com/deucebar) and updates the Deuce Screen of Fame, a photographic retrospective of debauchery and nudity that takes place in the darkened, historic establishment. If you're lucky (or acting the fool enough), you'll get your picture snapped as well. The scrolling images feature regulars and newbies, and it's heavy on locals and light on famous faces. "We only put famous people in it if they're into it," she says. "We've got Johnny Knoxville in there, I think. Often we just leave them alone. The slide show is funny whether you know the people or not. It's about the crazy people and the stories that take place. Like when Tara threw the iguana." Normally an evening in which a live iguana is flung across the bar would be one of those you-just-had-to-be-there stories. Thanks to Melissa's quickness with the camera, the moment was captured for posterity. And she needs to be quick, because who knows what can happen nextç
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2 comments
Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise

I happen to be a bottle flipper and make $1200 a week bozo.

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