Reader: Randy Layman pours out some love for the cocktail scene

Categories: Cafe Society

adam hodak bartending.jpg
Justin Frumkes
Adam Hodak behind the bar.
Do you want a shot of attitude with that beer? Laura Shunk's interview with Adam Hodak, the Green Russell bartender who doesn't think bartenders should be pretentious, hit a few people in their funny bones, not to mention wallets lightened by the cost of craft cocktails.

The comments keep flowing on the original story as well as the follow, and in addition to plenty of opinions include suggestions of other great bars to try.

And then there's this from Randy Layman, one of a pair of twin brother bartenders who are fixtures on the scene:

Coming from a bartender's perspective, I understand why people think the new wave of cocktail bars can be seen as pretentious. Hell, not till four years ago most of the well known bartenders ("mixologists") in Denver were shaking Manhattans and upset when people ordered an Old Fashioned! With a new sense of pride and knowledge that has come to a scene that is still very young, a "mixology" bar that prides itself on care and takes time to craft a drink will feel pretentious to a city that is used to "drink slingers".

I have personally seen more pretentious attitude from bartenders at dive bars and sports taverns than I ever have at Green Russell or any local cocktail bar. Half of the bartenders at your average pub will say that Jack Daniel's is a Bourbon, and do so with a chip on their shoulder. People forget that the bartender's bane is matter what bar they work in. Adam and his crew have a great desire to push the culture of fine drinking to new heights here in the Mile High. He knows he wouldn't have a bar without his wonderful guests.

I am lucky to be part of the cocktail scene here in my hometown, people like Adam Hodak and Alex Parks of Green Russell make my city better by continuing to elevate our drinking habits. As a bartender in Denver, I am lucky to have guests that want to try new things and drink well!

I hope someday Adam's dream of all restaurants making their own Sour Mix comes true, especially in the pretentious dive bars that make you feel like a jerk when you order an Old Fashioned.

Read more about Randy Layman, now at Steuben's, in this Behind the Bar interview.

Drink up!

Location Info

Green Russell

1422 Larimer St., Denver, CO

Category: Music

Steuben's Food Service

523 E. 17th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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Well said. People generally use the word "pretentious" when they mean "I don't understand what you are doing" or "I don't want to pay for quality."


I absolutely love the way Mantonat put it. 

I think all the responses to my original comment are fair (well, with the exception of a couple immature shots, but hey, to each their own). I do agree that we were probably given "unfavorable service" that night (aka what was perceived as pretentious or rude service) because GR was actually full that evening, but so are plenty of other busy locations in the area. It comes down to how you handle it--like anything in life.

I have had plenty of experiences at Frasca, for example, where they are understandably full when we just happen to stop by last minute, but they handle customer service in ways I would never even expect from a restaurant. It's experiences and customer service like that which make the difference.

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