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Good Old-Fashioned Bartending

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2008_12_gusbartender.jpg The Wall Street Journal traipsed across the country to find the best old-school hotel bars, with several stops in LA: Too bad the Biltmore was so empty because the space is beautiful but the drinks were not, and a bartender at the Roosevelt admits to not knowing how to make a lot of drinks but can usually "make something with sour mix and vodka" to placate his customers. Luckily, we have Gus Tassopulos, dean of the barmen at L.A.'s Hotel Bel-Air, who's been mixing drinks for five decades (started at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 1959, been at the Bel-Air since 1990), who was the "paradigm of dignified" and could mix a proper Sidecar with ease. He knows there are people serious about their cocktail craft, but laments that "bartending isn't what people want as a career now." [WSJ]

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