Cocktails

Behind the Bar: Chase Crain at Bar Smith

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Crain says he happened upon flairtending after several years of bartending. He grew up in Washington, D.C., and attended George Mason University in Virginia after high school. But his plans changed when he got a job as a barback at the Lima Lounge in downtown D.C. his senior year. Let's just say he never ended up graduating.

"I was making anywhere between $500 and $1,200 a night," he says, "so I quit going to school."

He moved to the Valley in 2007 with his college roommate and got the first job he applied for, from Bill Smith, who was about to open Bar Smith.

"I came in here with a shirt and tie on, and Bill Smith, the owner, greeted me," Crain says. "And he hired me on the spot, without even interviewing me."

Crain added the flair to his act when he went to Cherry Lounge & Pit in Tempe one night two years ago. A bartender there, who goes by the name Teriyaki, was putting on quite the show. Crain asked if he would teach him the tricks. As it turned out, Teriyaki was actually hosting lessons every Monday night.

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Lauren Gilger
Contact: Lauren Gilger