“No one wants a boring bartender.”
Well, good thing Brian Biga is not.
“Somebody’s gotta strike a conversation and I’m that guy. Silence is awkward.”
Biga started in the restaurant industry at the ripe age of 13, where he worked with his father, who was a general manager for a restaurant in New York City, at Pricci in Atlanta and currently owns several South American restaurants. Biga started as a dishwasher, then worked as a prep cook before moving to the front of house, where he transitioned into bartending and has remained to stay. Here, he tells his story of what it’s like on the other side of the bar.
“I’ve been at Mi Cocina from the start. I watched my fan base grow and grow. 90% of the bar clientele are my regulars from all around the area; lawyers, pilots and bankers. Seeing and catching up with my regulars has kept me around.
People started requesting me. I’ve created a relationship with them and now I see them outside of work too.
They come once, then a second time. I’ll see them again and remember them. I get invited to their house for dinner or go out for drinks. They’re pretty loyal to me. When I’m not working sometimes I’ll get texts that say, ‘I came to the bar and you weren’t there so I left.’ I have to tell them I don’t work all the time. I need a break.
I’m bad with names though, so it takes a while for names to stick in my head.
Except I didn’t forget Kathleen Turner’s name. She became a regular of mine and while they were filming Dumb and Dumber 2, and one time she brought over Jeff Daniels.
Some have extraordinary lives, some have been through a lot. I have people spill their heart out to me. You create that relationship with them and its not to be taken for granted.
I hear them out, but I do tell them drinking isn’t the best way to deal with the problem. It will just coat the pain until the next day but then the problem is still there.
Bartenders have this fame that we pick up women and I completely disagree. There’s a line of respect. I don’t try to pick up girls, I let things happen.
Bartending allowed me to get close to my guests. I love joking and talking with them. I keep a good relationship with my guests and that has led to my success.”
-By Alexa Lampasona for the Food & More blog