Bartender Chronicles: James O’Connor, Crown Victoria

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Photos by Sarah Jacobs

Have you ever wondered what life is like for those kind and patient people pouring shots behind the bar? This summer we’re bringing you a meet and greet with some of your favorite faces behind the bar at your favorite haunts. After the jump, James O’Connor from Crown Victoria shares the one drink you can’t screw up and his favorite new bar in Brooklyn.

Where did you get your start bartending?
I started at a place in Midtown, called Seven.

What made you decide to be a bartender?
I finished college and didn’t want a real job, I guess.

What’s the worst way for a customer to get your attention?
Snap the fingers. Or someone actually while I was really busy leaned right across my bar and goes, ‘Excuse me,’ once, which I thought was one of the more interesting ones…It was pretty busy, and this guy goes, ‘Excuse me,’ as if he had something pressing. You know, if someone says, ‘Excuse me,’ you think he needs something like a plaster–or whatever you call those here, a Band-Aid. And he shouts, ‘Excuse me,’ at me, and I go, ‘Are you okay?’ And he goes, ‘Yeah, can I get a…’

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What do you do when you’re not bartending?
I think a lot of people have a ‘slash’ where they do something that’s really interesting. I don’t have a slash. I just explore the city, enjoy the city, try to have a nice time.

Do you have any hobbies?
I enjoy music, going to DJs. I like bands. Eating out. I like to eat out, see other bars, that kind of stuff.

Do you have a favorite place in the neighborhood that’s kind of “undiscovered?”
I think this neighborhood has been pretty well discovered. I like that new place Featherweight. It’s great…That’s slightly hidden, I guess.

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What is your favorite drink to make?
There are all these drinks I like to make that I like to drink, so Manhattans or Old Fashioneds. I don’t really do them too crazy, so they don’t really bother me. Manhattans–straightforward. You can’t fuck it up.

Well, you’re not supposed to shake it…
Sure, you can fuck it up if you try. [Laughs.]

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