Bartender Chronicles: Ben Cuttell, Brooklyn Bowl

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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, we have Ben Cuttell from Brooklyn Bowl on what he does in his free time when he’s not bartending, his favorite Brooklyn IPA, and his choice of a late-night food truck.

How long have you been bartending, and where did you start?
I’ve been bartending for about eight years, and I actually started in Los Angeles…at like, a beach bar.

Why did you start bartending?
Initially the hours and just being able to have days free was a big perk, but also it’s fun. I like serving people…and it’s kind of exciting. And it’s a fun environment to work in. I also like making drinks.

What’s the best thing about working at Brooklyn Bowl?
Just being able to see the shows all the time. But for the most part I enjoy 90 percent of the shows that are there, so it’s cool to be working and listen to music.

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What’s the vibe at Brooklyn Bowl?
There’s a lot going on, so it’s kind of cool in terms of [the fact that] it’s not just a music venue. It’s a whole big bar that’s fully staffed usually on busy nights with lots of bartenders to cut through the volume. But there’s a restaurant area, bowling, and the bars, as well as the music obviously going on. It’s kind of cool for even just someone going in to check it out or even groups … I think that’s a cool vibe of it…even when it’s crowded, it’s still a cool crowd … it’s a pretty laid-back crowd.

When you’re not bartending, what are you doing?
Actually, it’s very rare for a Brooklyn Bowl employee that I’m not a musician. It’s summer, it’s nice out, so a lot of bike riding. I play in a softball league. I try to do outdoors stuff as much as possible. And I’m a sports fan, so I’m in to watching baseball.

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So, it’s post-shift and you’re starving — where do you get a bite to eat?
On the weekends by the time we close and I get out of there, nothing’s open and I just go to a bodega…to get a sandwich. Or I’ll grab a slice of pizza or [go to] a taco truck that are out there pretty late. I would go to Oasis, the Mediterranean food place, if it were open by the time I got out.

What’s your after-work drink?
I will either go for an IPA, like some kind of IPA, or being that it’s summer and getting warm, I’ve been on a big margarita kick lately.

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Brooklyn Bowl has a pretty big tap list. What’s your favorite local beer that you serve?
Beer-wise, we’re almost exclusively Brooklyn. And actually my favorite on tap right now, it’s only one from that brewery, but it’s the Other Half IPA.

Do you have a favorite drink that you make?
Bartenders always bitch about old-fashioneds and Manhattans, but they’re so easy to make.

Come visit Ben at Brooklyn Bowl during Northside Festival–check out the show lineup to see who’s playing.

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