Bartenders & Baristas: Steve Delaney at Rula Bula

By Wynter Holden

California native Steve Delaney, who’s worked behind the bar at Tempe’s Rula Bula for over three-and-a-half years, is the only one in his family that hasn’t been to the Emerald Isle. He has no brogue, and I’m pretty certain he couldn’t direct you to Killarney or tell you what an Eriskay love lilt is. But when it comes to pouring the perfect pint of Guinness, he’s as Irish as they come -- no blarney.

Chow Bella: What brought you to Arizona originally? Steve Delaney: Spring training, actually. I came out here every year, and when I saw the price of the homes, and the weather, I said I’m never going back.

CB: Where would you love to travel? SD: I do want to see Ireland, and I’d love to do an African safari one day. I think that would just be a beautiful sight.

CB: Just to see, or to hunt? SD: No, I don’t kill. I wouldn’t kill, because they’re bigger animals then I am and I wouldn’t take that chance.

CB: Is there a food or drink you have a particular weakness for? SD: Lamb chops. I cannot live without lamb chops, with mint jelly, the whole thing.

CB: So how exactly do you pour the “perfect” pint – or will you have to kill me if you tell? SD: The secret is…

SD: Well, there’s actually several little factors. First, you have to use the right glass, a 20 oz. Imperial pint. It’s got to be room temperature and it’s got to be “beer clean,” which means no sanitizer, no little towel marks. The tap for Guinness goes forward and back. You tap back and fill about three-quarters so you get a creamy head (about half an inch) and then you finish it off by pushing forward. It takes 119.5 seconds to pour the perfect pint.

CB: You’ve actually clocked that? SD: Yep, absolutely!

CB: Ok, let’s get down to business. Tell us the best story you’ve ever heard on the job. SD: Why am I a good bartender? Because I’ve heard a lot of stories, but I’ll never repeat any of them and embarrass one of our guests. All of the stories told to me stay right here in my little head.

CB: Aww, come on. I’m sure you’ve seen some wild stuff working at Rula Bula . Give us a little something. SD: Ok, the craziest day was when Notre Dame was at the Fiesta Bowl and they were playing Ohio State. Notre Dame pretty much made this their hub. The Irish fans were singing the Irish fight song from ten in the morning until ten at night. Even an Irish fan like me got sick of that song!

So, you’ve got like 500 Notre Dame fans in here singing and drinking. Then, two Buckeye fans walk in wearing the white shirts with the big “O” on them and I thought, ‘nothing good is going to come of this.’ The Buckeye fans just left. I think they knew their lives were in danger.

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Wynter Holden
Contact: Wynter Holden