Behind the Bar: Steve Howard of Murphy's Law

Categories: Cocktails
Nicki Escudero
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It's easy to see why Steve Howard of Murphy's Law in Chandler is a popular bartender. The handsome 25-year-old is extremely charming, doing tricks behind the bar and letting customers name drinks he makes for them. And he's had plenty of time to build up a steady clientele--he's been in the industry for more than 5 years, having previously worked at the now-closed Bamboo Club in Tempe.

Howard is such a hit with his staff that his managers don't even mind when he breaks glasses while flipping them in the air. While he has plans to go back to school, his skills behind the bar have allowed him to make bartending a full-time job for now, and he let us in on some of his experiences as a bartender.

What makes you a great bartender? I'm a stickler when it comes to bartending, and when it comes to a good bartender, I think there are 1,000 different things that go into it. You need to be fast, you need to be efficient, you need to be a great multi-tasker, you need to be good with people and be able to talk to anyone, regardless of their personality.

What's the hardest part about bartending? My hands are wet the entire time I'm working because you're constantly washing glasses. I've probably cut my hands on broken glass about 75 times in the last 5 years.

How do you take care of your cuts? Superglue is how I've always fixed all my cuts. I've had some bad cuts they may have required stitches, but obviously, you have to keep working, you can't just go home. You put superglue on it, close it up, wrap it up and put a Band-Aid on there or a latex glove. You leave everything closed up and let it dry, and 2 days later, you peel it off, and it's just as good as stitching.

Who's been your rudest customer? It's the people I think have never worked in the industry before and don't understand the industry and are very demanding and think they're the only people in the room, even though you're one bartender taking care of 80 people at once.

What kinds of tricks can you do behind the bar? I can flip bottles behind my back or in my hand. If I get someone water, I'll flip the lemon up and catch it in the glass. The other night, I came into work, and I was here for 15 seconds and flipped a Guiness glass in the air. I missed it, and it hit the ground and shattered. My owner and all the managers were having a meeting at the table nearby. I did it again to redeem myself, and I missed it again.

What's the best drink you've created?
I usually let the customer name it, and recently I had one that I made that's blue and has Bacardi Dragonberry rum, peach schnapps and sweet and sour, and then you shake it, pour it and add Blue Curacao. The guy named it Papa Smurf.

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