The tender: Matt Slenske
The bar: American Junkie (4364 N. 75th St., 480-990-3000)
The pedigree: Slenske got his start at Devil House, his local hangout during college. Since then he's tended bar at Sanctuary (now Mist) and Acme as well as Loco Patron, where he spent four years before American Junkie's owner recruited him as bar manager in November 2008.
How did you get your first bartending job?
Devil House was right by the campus, so I would just go there between classes and hang out. I saw the bartenders, how much fun they were having and how much they were making, and decided I wanted to do that. So I was just going there and working for free, and I guess they felt bad for me because they finally gave me a job. I wanted to learn and wanted to work there, so it worked out well.
Do you miss working at any of the places you used to bartend for?
I miss Loco, and Devil House was like my stomping grounds. But I love this place, too. It's like a family here.
It seems like most of the bartenders in this town know each other in one way or another. Do you all get together a lot?More »
It's interesting, because our weekends start on Monday and go until Tuesday. Our workweeks usually don't start until Wednesday and go to Sunday. It's hard, because we have so many people to see. You kind of have an interval of time you have to spend visiting each person who's working. I have friends at Smash Box, Mint, Loco, and you have to stop in for an hour or so to see each of them. Everybody in town is kind of recycled.