Meet the Bartender: Brad Pitts

MICHAEL DONAHUE/The Commercial Appeal
Brad Pitts, bartender at Bari Ristorante. Jan. 22 2013 PHOTO BY MICHAEL DONAHUE

Photo by Michael Donahue // Buy this photo

MICHAEL DONAHUE/The Commercial Appeal Brad Pitts, bartender at Bari Ristorante. Jan. 22 2013 PHOTO BY MICHAEL DONAHUE

Age: 39.

Title: Bartender at Bari Ristorante e Enoteca.

Hometown: Jackson, Miss., but I've lived here for 27 years.

How did you get into bartending? I waited tables for many years during college. One night, we were waiting tables, and I got to work and my boss was like, "Hey, you're bartending tonight." I guess a bartender had gotten fired or called in sick or something like that. I said, "OK." And I've been bartending ever since. I basically just learned by doing, I guess.

What makes a good bartender? Being able to anticipate what people need before they need it has always been my thing. I try to treat people how I want to be treated when I go out. I have really high standards, so I work to that standard, and it's worked out for me.

What's the best part of being a bartender? All of the really great friends that I've made over the last 15 years.

What's popular at your bar right now? People want you to make stuff (personalized drinks). They say, "Brad, I want you to make me something. Here's what I like. Here's what I don't like." There's a very personalized way to doing it, and people like that.

What's your favorite drink (mixed drink, wine or beer?)? Newcastle Brown Ale. I'm primarily a beer drinker. All my friends know that's my go-to beverage.

Who's the biggest celebrity you've ever waited on? Samuel L. Jackson. He came in for dinner one night when they were doing "Black Snake Moan." I think he just had wine. Kyra Sedgwick did say that my martini was one of the best martinis that she'd ever had. Isn't that great? I think it was a regular gin martini.

What are some of your other interests? I play a lot of golf. My girlfriend, Natalie Person, is a psychology professor at Rhodes, so we travel a lot during the summer. I enjoy spending time with my family. I work outside during the summer months. I like working in my yard. It's very therapeutic.

What are the pluses and minuses of your name? I guess one of the minuses is that people mispronounce it and say "Brad Pitt" without using the "s". I'm careful to say, "My name is 'Brad Pitts.'" But I guess one of the pluses is people always remember your name.

Bari Ristorante is at 22 S. Cooper; 901-722-2244

Michael Donahue, 901-529-2797

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