Hair of the Dog

By Edwin Decker
Photo by Janelle Maas

(Published in the February 2010 issue) 

As the daughter of an Air Force weapons technician, Kristyne Carey spent much of her youth in geographical upheaval. Starting with her birth in Howell, Michigan, she has lived in Sacramento, California; Reykjavik, Iceland; Goldsboro, North Carolina; Bitburg, Germany; and Tucson, Arizona, to name a few.

In 2000, she moved to San Diego and secured her first bartending job at the Gaslamp Hooters (if you can call that "bartending," since a gig at Hooters largely consists of dumping beer into a pitcher and rejecting the advances of barley-emboldened men driven to desperation by hot women in tight orange Dolphin shorts).

After Hooters, she worked at Moose McGillycuddy's, 'Canes Bar & Grill, Johnny V's, East Village Tavern and Bowl, La Puerta and Cabo Cantina, where she is currently employed. Carey also owns a dog-walking business called Walk N Roll Doggie (walknrolldoggie.com).

"When I'm not bartending, I am following dogs around, picking up poop," she tells me. "Business is good and hopefully soon it will expand. However, I think I will always bartend on the side, for my sanity. I don't think I will be normal if I just talk to dogs all day."

What makes a good bartender?

"Well, I don't believe that there is a guideline," Carey explains, "because different personalities are what bring people back. You don't even have to be super-nice, as long as you're doing something to keep people at the bar. One thing's for sure-if you're not a hard worker, or slow, you will be hated by your fellow workers. So, mush, bartender, mush!"

What's the most embarrassing incident that happened to you behind the bar?

"I was bartending for a loud, busy show at 'Canes, and a group of four walked up. The main guy mouthed what he wanted, so I said, 'Hey man, I don't read lips, what do you want to drink?' Again, he mouthed his order. I said, 'Listen, tell me what you want or I'm going to move on!' His friends eventually clued me in on why he wasn't speaking. He was deaf! I felt like such a jerk."

Do you have any hobbies or special skills
"Well, I fall everyday. I don't know if that is a skill, but I have mastered it pretty well. I also like to paint, but I am not very good. I grew up playing sports and even got scholarships for soccer and swimming. I am very artistic and creative, a great thinker. I may act clueless, but that is so that people don't expect too much from me."

Biggest tip: $500
Celebrity encounter: "Jack Osbourne sat at my bar and tried to order booze. I didn't know who he was, but I laughed in his face and said, 'Who do you think you are? You look 10 years old!'"
Most hated drink to make: "Please don't ask for a Mojito. I will give you a very weird look and probably not get to you that quick on your next order."
Most annoying customer: "The person who asks, 'What's the cheapest thing at this bar?' 
Well, buddy...you are."
What do you want to be when you grow up?: "Married-to a rich, rich man."

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