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Eats and Drinks

Best Bartender

James Hafner

Dionysus restaurant and lounge, 8 E. Preston St., (410) 244-1020,

Posted 9/21/2005

Great bartenders aren’t born—they’re self-made through subtle observations and immense patience with the impatient drinking public. And like a great editor, you don’t notice the hand of a great bartender. You get your drinks without hassle, effort, or even having to say much. Eye contact, a raised hand, a circling of the index finger is all that is needed to signal another round, an order memorized when you first ordered it 15 minutes or six months ago. Dionysus co-owner James Hafner is one such bartender. Unflappable, easygoing, and impeccably hospitable, you might not notice this veteran from the Brewer’s Art because he’s so adept at handling a crowd. Hafner moves smoothly from patron to patron, always attentive and responsive, and never gets flummoxed or flustered by an order or an asshole. Whether bodies are stacked two-deep trying to get drinks or it’s a relaxed night with a handful of regulars whiling away a workday afternoon, Hafner maintains a professional, penguin cool.

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Other Awards for Best Bartender:

Tiffany Houchins, 9/16/2009

Adam Thomas, 9/19/2007

Anna "Spooky" Makauskas, 9/20/2006

Tecla Podczaski, 9/22/2004

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