One man, countless bars and high-frequency airwaves
Sean “Sonic” Leckie’s bartending resume includes prominent local hotspots: the W Hotel’s Beach, Onyx Room, Vin de Syrah and even Petco Park. Nowadays, he slings drinks at Basic Urban Kitchen & Bar in East Village, and he’ll soon be pouring at Basic’s new sister spot, URBN Coal Fired Pizza and Bar in North Park. Yet, despite all the public face-time from his bar gigs, it’s Sonic’s voice that people most often recognize. That’s because when he isn’t behind the bar, he’s a weekend deejay and producer at Channel 933 FM—and he used to be the sidekick on the radio station’s highly rated morning show, AJ’s Playhouse, where he was known for his song parodies and quick wit.
During a rare occasion when he’s off-air and isn’t on- tap, Sonic dishes on his radio gig, the time he insulted Green Day and why men should never ask him to make his specialty cocktail.
PacificSD: So, how does a bartender land a job on the radio?
Sonic: Hard work. I started as an intern when I was going to school and moved up within four years, after working at other stations like KGB. Now, I’m a morning show producer and deejaying on the air on weekends at 933.
What’s your specialty cocktail?
I can make a mean mojito. Besides that, when a dude comes in says, “What can you make that’s good?” I just make them something really jacked up, like gin with Red Bull and cream.
[Laughs] It’s disgusting, man! They pretend to like it because they don’t want to insult you. For girls, it’s all right to do that, but a man should know his drink.
Most embarrassing bartending moment?
Oh, man, one time I was doing this trick where I squeeze the lime in the drink, throw it behind my back, and it comes back around and I catch it in the glass. I was showing off for these girls and I flicked the lime right into my eye—it was watering uncontrollably and turning red.
Yeah, that’s what they said. The girls were like, “niiiice.”
Favorite hangover recovery spots: “Oh, the Hash House [in Hillcrest] for sure. you can get the ’Hair of the Dog,’ which is a really big Bloody Mary and a ton of food. I always get the fried chicken.”
Preferred late-night nosh: “I’m not trying to drop a plug, but Basic is serving pizza til 1:45, and they’re right by my house.”
Celebrity customers: “This one guy came in, and I was making fun of his tie—until my buddy told me, ‘Hey man, that’s the guy from Green Day [Billie Joe Armstrong].’”
Biggest Tip: “A couple hundred bucks? I can’t remember, or maybe I just don’t deserve one. When you serve gin with Red Bull and cream, you might not get a big tip.”