What’s your favorite drink to make?
Well, lately everyone’s been fond of my Bloody Marys. I make a damn fine margarita. My favorite drink to make is something sweet and tasty for the girlies. Whatever they like.
What’s your least favorite drink to make?
Any creamy drinks, anything with cream in them … like a White Russian, or something like that.
Would you say The Buffet is known for anything specifically?
We’re known for being the oldest and best bar in Tucson. The greatest dive. In 2009, Esquire magazine named us the best dive bar in America. In 2010, they changed it to best bar in America.
What’s your most memorable customer?
Well, Sonny sat there for a long time. He was here; I remember him sitting there when I was drinking back in the early ’90s, and he was still sitting there up until about a year ago. He was a cranky old guy, but he was also funny and had a sweet laugh.
Allan Bartels, a bartender for approximately 30 years, mans the Buffet Bar & Crock Pot on 9th Street.
Weirdest, strangest thing you’ve seen go down at the bar?
Firefighters changing clothes with the nurses. For some reason, they all decided to trade shirts. I never quite figured out why they were changing shirts, but it was fun.
As a customer, what can I do to piss you off as a bartender?
It’s kind of hard in this place, but if you manage to piss [off] somebody else in this place, like if you were to cause any of my customers grief. This morning, there were some guys who would not shut up the whole time. I had to have them removed. People were trying to drink in peace, and they wouldn’t let them. Be loud and obnoxious, that’ll work.
On the flip side, what can I do to make your job as easy as possible?
Know exactly what you like when you come in and be a regular. As soon as the regulars walk in the door, I know exactly what they’re having and I just make it. Boom, it’s waiting for them when they sit down. That’s the beauty of this job: You get to know a lot of good people.
What’s a drinking trend that you’d like to see go away?
My reflex would be to go with … mixing Red Bull in your drinks, because it’s not really healthy. But it also helps promote a party-like atmosphere in the evening when people are kind of sleepy. Boom, everybody’s up again. I don’t know if there’s any trends I’d like to see disappear. … Jägers. Really nasty stuff. And the Jäger Spice tastes just like Jäger.