[Photo: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle]
The Chronicle announced their 2013 Bar Stars on Sunday, naming the six bartenders whose work has shined in the past year. The list includes mixmasters from drinking destinations that debuted this year (Matt Conway of Brass Tacks, Chris Lane of Ramen Shop) as well as those bringing new life to bar programs at more established spots (Lucien Sankey and Dan Chavez Stahl of Rickhouse, Matthew Campbell of Comal, and Mike Lay of Monterey's Restaurant 1833).
A few interesting tidbits from each bartender's profile:
· Lay has so many customers coming into his restaurant asking for shots of blue curaçao and peach schnapps (really, guys?) that he's begun offering mini cocktails, including one designed to taste like a waffle.
· The Rickhouse gents got the nod for streamlining the bar's menu from 60 to 15 cocktails, including a few with (gasp) vodka.
· Also, Chavez Stahl fights hangovers with a cocktail of tequila and coconut Pedialyte, which sounds weirdly awesome.
· As of last month, Lane is no longer at Lolinda, which is a bummer. He's now adding "a slight tiki twist" to Ramen Shop's cocktail lineup.
· For hangovers, Campbell has stumbled onto a secret weapon: Irn-Bru, a bright orange citrus soda that's known in Scotland as "the other national drink" (after Scotch, of course).
· Conway, who owns four motorcycles, says his new journey into bar ownership has made him more appreciative of a fast cocktail: "I own a bar now. Get those goddamn drinks out quickly. Make sure they taste good, but get them out."