Dave Hounsel has tended bar for 10 years. He was born in Louisville, but he considers Lexington his hometown. In addition to serving drinks to his numerous regulars at Lynagh's Irish Pub, Hounsel is an avid slam poet and is just two classes shy of a philosophy degree.
How did you get your start bartending? "I started when I was 20 as a barback and just worked my way up."
What's your favorite drink to make? "The Bloody Mary, when it isn't busy. I have my own handmade recipe; most places just give you a mix."
And if you could drink only one drink for the rest of your life? "Bushmills Green Label (Irish whiskey) on the rocks."
Favorite bar of all time? "It was in New Orleans by the college campus. I was down there for a poetry slam and, because there aren't stiff liquor laws there, there was this guy who had a bar right there in his garage. It was really cool."
What goes into a good drink? "Prudence. There's a place and time for a weak drink and a place and time for a strong drink."
What makes a good bartender? "The bartender has to be a good mediator. The customer always wants you to pour more and the house always wants you to pour less, so you have to find a way to be able to make everyone happy."
Do you know your regulars by name? "All of them. And I couldn't pay my electric bill without them. They're a bartender's lifeline."
Any advice for aspiring bartenders? (Laughs.) "Yeah. Stay in school!"