Tak­ing a bot­tom’s-up path to the top

Los Angeles Times - - FOOD & DINING - By Jenn Har­ris Townhouse, 52 Wind­ward Ave., Venice, (310) 392-4040, www.town­hou­se­v­enice.com jenn.har­ris@la­times.com

Most restau­rant in­dus­try lif­ers get their start in the busi­ness at a young age. For Townhouse gen­eral manager and bar­tender Adam San­droni, 28, his ca­reer started with dirty dishes at 15.

“I washed dishes, bussed ta­bles, made smooth­ies, ran food, waited ta­bles, bar­backed and fi­nally got to bar­tend,” said San­droni. Twelve years, 10 venues, three states and one chance run-in with some­one look­ing to hire a bar­back later, and San­droni is now head of one of the most popular bars in Venice Beach. “If it hadn’t been for that chance meet­ing, I might have ended up mov­ing back to In­di­ana and living with my dad,” said San­droni.

While tak­ing a break from sling­ing Moscow Mules — the most re­quested drink at Townhouse — San­droni gave us a lit­tle one-on-one time to re­veal how he re­ally feels about sus­penders and what makes him tick be­hind the bar. Your fa­vorite cock­tail to drink? If it’s morn­ing, a Carpano Bianco ver­mouth on the rocks with a grapefruit twist hits the spot. Lunchtime? Ei­ther a beer or a Tom Collins. With din­ner? I like black Man­hat­tans: Rye whiskey, amaro and bit­ters make the per­fect din­ner drink with meat dishes. How do you feel about sus­penders? I love them. They keep my pants up, they look sharp, they’re com­fort­able. What’s not to love? Mixol­o­gist ver­sus bar­tender? A bar­tender by any other name can still pour you a drink, right? I think the word “mixol­o­gist” came out of a very good in­stinct, which was to cre­ate a class of pro­fes­sional bar­tenders — peo­ple who took pride in know­ing how to make a great cock­tail with fresh in­gre­di­ents. It was a term for those among us who wanted to do more than just pour shots on the week­ends but re­ally saw the bar in­dus­try as our call­ing. The word has a bit of a neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tion now, since it im­plies pre­ten­sion and a 20-minute wait for a drink with in­gre­di­ents you can’t pro­nounce. That’s a shame, but you can call me a mixol­o­gist, a bar­tender, bar­keep, buddy or Adam — you’re still go­ing

to get a great drink. What do you most fre­quently say “cheers” to? I like to toast to friend­ship, love and life. Af­ter all, one of those things is prob­a­bly the rea­son you’re drink­ing in the first place. What’s one thing peo­ple do at the bar you sim­ply can’t stand? It drives me up the wall when peo­ple flag me down on a busy night to or­der a drink, then when I get to them, they turn around to get their friends’ or­ders. If you flag me down and you’re not ready, you’re pre­vent­ing some­one who is ready to or­der from get­ting their drink in a timely man­ner. If you want my at­ten­tion, a small wave will do just fine. Please don’t snap or whis­tle like you would for a dog.

Anne Cu­sack Los An­ge­les Times

ADAM SAN­DRONI is gen­eral manager at Townhouse, one of the most popular bars in Venice Beach. Or­der the Moscow Mule.

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