Elliott Simmons at Devil's Advocate

Elliott Simmons is a popular guy -- during our interview, no less than three people interrupted us just to say hi. I shouldn't have been surprised, as this is Simmons' spot. He's been at Devil's Advocate since it opened October 2009, though he began serving drinks at the same location in 2005, when the bar was known as Maloney's. He's also logged time at Zipp's, Marcello's, Majerle's and Ocean Prime. The young bartender also earns cool points as a musician -- he plays piano and guitar, having been taken on a few solo projects around town before starting things with his current band five weeks ago.

So what's the name of the band?
That's one of the things we still need to figure out. We just had a show here Friday and now we're trying to get booked other places, but we don't have the name yet! We're in the process of getting all that stuff set up so people can look us up.

How did you get started in bartending?
I started going to ASU and I remember coming by Maloney's, which in 2005 was the place to be. I applied as a doorman to work security, then started barbacking from there. It ended up working out as a pretty good job -- something I could put myself through school with. The money was good and for me the hours were right.

You're usually here on Friday and Saturday night -- does working as a bartender ruin your weekends?
You know, when I started here and I was 18 or 19 years old, I could be at the bar but I wouldn't even have been able to get into the bar. I guess I just got used to it. For my first two years at ASU, I never went out on a Thursday night because I was always working. So when I turned 21 I was like, I'd like to take a couple weekends off and enjoy it! But now I'm back to the same thing: I'd much rather work on the weekends and make money than go out and spend it.

What do you like most about being a bartender?
It's a good time. You're around people your age, and you want to complain about working, but you look around and it's all young people having a good time. There's always something crazy and new going on.

What's your least favorite thing?
The end of the night. Everybody's been drinking and it's time to get them out of the building -- it's like babysitting a bunch of grown men. Come that time, nobody wants to go home.

What was your most memorable night as a bartender?
Probably any of the St. Patrick's Days here. That day is crazy. We open at like seven in the morning and have the big tent parties, don't close until 2 and it's just slam-packed the entire time. Everybody's a drinker on St. Patty's Day. One year, we had a brawl here that took up like half the parking lot. People just do crazy things -- throw up all over their shirt, take it off and leave it in the bathroom. You're like, "How the hell did this guy get out of here without his shirt on?" Just weird stuff like that. Sometimes people get so intoxicated they don't know where they're going. We've walked back into the keg room and somebody's sitting in there asleep. It's like, how did you get here, man?

What do you drink when you're out?
I'm a big fan of finding new beers. I like trying stuff from all over the world. Papago Brewery has like hundreds of beers -- you go in there and they tell you the stories about them, where they're from and how they taste. I'm into stuff like that. I wouldn't say I was when I was 19, but being in the bar industry, you get a respect for that. Other than that, I'm a whiskey drinker. I'm all about the seven and seven. 

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Zach Fowle
Contact: Zach Fowle