Bartender Chronicles: David Gordon, Alligator Lounge

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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, David Hart from Alligator Lounge talks about his go-to post-shift drink, his favorite Brooklyn dive bar, and the band he’s most excited to see during Northside Festival.

How long have you been a bartender?
I’ve been a bartender about six or seven years.

Where did you get your start?
Austin, Texas.

Why did you become a bartender?
I wanted to make more money.

But you must like it because you’ve been doing it for six years. What do you like about bartending?
Yeah, I love bartending. What do I love/like about it? I like making drinks. I like interaction with customers. I like the hours.

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Do you have any advice for bar etiquette for customers?
Whenever you’re asking for your tab, just say your name. Like, sometimes people will come up and say, ‘Yeah, can I close my tab?’ And if it’s really busy, I feel like those few seconds are very precious to me.

What is the worst way for a customer to get your attention?
Just yelling your drink at me. Like, yelling what they want at me when I’m not looking. You know, like when I’m busy and they just yell whatever they want.

If you could choose an official cocktail for the borough of Brooklyn, what would it be?
Like a nice cocktail? Let’s just say an El Camino. It’s one ounce mezcal, one ounce rye whiskey, half an ounce of Benedictine, two dashes of Angostura.

What is your go-to after-work drink?
I would say a beer and a shot–shot of Jameson.

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If there was a bartending handbook, what would be rule No. 1?
Wash your hands. [Laughs.]

What is your favorite place in the neighborhood that’s still undiscovered?
I just moved here recently. I have no idea. Let me think about that one. We’ll come back to it.

How long has Alligator Lounge been open? And are there any traditions you carry on?
It’s been around for at least 10 years, I know that. Is free pizza a tradition?

Are you excited to see any of the bands at Northside this year?
I think out of all of them I’m most excited to see Built to Spill.

What do you do when you’re not tending bar?
That’s a good question–what do I do when I’m not tending bar? I’m usually at a bar. I like to go to, it’s this Irish dive bar. It’s called Rosemary’s Greenpoint Tavern … I’ve definitely been there in the middle of the day.

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