Hi, my name is George Wilkerson and I have been tending bar continuously since 1994. The last 16 years have seen me tending bar here in New Orleans. I moved here in 2002 and went to work for Dickie Brennan at the Bourbon House. I stayed there through Katrina and, in May of 2006, wanting to get out of the French Quarter, I took employment with St. Joe's Bar, where I am to this day. Things are fine at St. Joe's and I'm making money, but after 11 years there I find myself wanting to see what else is out there, so I'm looking for some different work right now. First, let me say a little bit about the two places I have worked here in New Orleans.
Fantastic 4-star seafood restaurant on the first block of Bourbon Street and a really good employer, too. This was the epitome of "high volume." When we opened in 2002 we started out with 15 full time bartenders and around 60 servers if that helps paint a picture of the scope of the operation. There were busy nights where we served over a thousand entrees. The Bourbon House did a good job with employee education, too. We had mandatory wine tastings twice a month, and bourbon tastings too. I learned a lot here and served a lot of delicious food. It was definitely fine dining, but it was fun, too. Fine dining without being stuffy. Haute cuisine, but with Dr. John or the Meters as the background music. Of those 15 original bartenders, I was the last man standing when I left to go to St. Joe's. My last paycheck had the designation "eligible for rehire." I still eat there from time to time, and I am fan of Dickie Brennan and his restaurants.
Now we're uptown and out of the French Quarter. St. Joe's is home of the famous Blueberry Mojito. Not exaggerating, I estimate I've made over 100,000 mojitos here in the last 11 years. St. Joe's is the quintessential neighborhood bar. No food, no live music, just good drinks and good times. I see a lot of the same neighborhood people day to day; we've always had good regulars. We make a lot of the classics, too, it's not just about the mojitos. We also do well with our beers. We have 12 taps and we choose good stuff to put on them. I guess the one thing that suffered a little bit for me when I left the Bourbon House is my wine knowledge. We've never really done a lot with wine at St. Joe's, it just isn't a big wine place. We generally stick with 3 reds and 3 whites and just roll with that. So Joe's is more about the cocktails and the beers and less about the wine. After the neighborhood restaurants close each night we get a service industry crowd, so that's our bread and butter later at night. This has been a really good place to work and I've made a lot of friends here in the last 11 years. If I find different work I can still envision a scenario where I keep a shift or two here.
Now I should tell you a little bit about myself. First and foremost, I am the two things an employer wants out of a bartender....I am HONEST and DEPENDABLE. I understand the distinction between the money that's supposed to go in the register and the money that goes in my tip jar, and I get that distinction right. And I show up for work and stay until it's time to go home. In 24 years I have never been fired and I have never quit a job in a negative fashion. As for relating to people (which is
stay professional and not take things personally if a guest is having a difficult experience; I try to always elevate and stay away from the petty stuff. Nobody likes a bartender who's whiny or abrasive. As for the drinks themselves, I'm good at making them. I've always been into food and drink. I was making my Dad's cocktails and making bananas foster at the hunting camp when I was 10 years old. I may be 48 now, but don't let that fool you, I'm still fast at making drinks. Good drinks.
I'm a worker; I want to be here. I rarely try to take off. I like to work about 2,000 hours a year, about 5 days a week with 2 days off in normal conditions. And I don't care which days I have off, they're all the same to me. I'll work weekends, late nights, holidays...I'll even work Christmas Day.
I don't really have any to speak of. I am unmarried and have no children. I do have a border collie who's important to me, so if a hurricane is headed this way I am inclined to evacuate him to my Mom's in Mississippi, so that he doesn't suffer high temperatures in a power loss. But aside from that, I don't really leave New Orleans that much. I once went 2 years without even going to Metairie.
What can I say? I know how to make good drinks (quickly) and get along with folks. Been doing it for 24 years professionally. And I have good bar instincts, too, you know...the things you just can't teach. As for drinks, I know the classics and I know how to hit my specs when free-pouring, but I'm also happy to use a jigger. I know a thing or two about the spirits themselves and can discuss them intelligently without pretension. Working behind a bar is natural for me; it's in my blood. If you need help, then let me know, because I'm looking for work. Thanks for taking the time to visit my site.