The last time I rested my elbows on Patrick “Jocko” Tierney’s bar at Manny’s, I made the mistake of asking if they had a cocktail menu. “Sure we do, kid,” he said (he calls everyone “kid”). “We’ve sold out just like everybody else.”
Jocko has all the tangibles necessary for a great bartender—he can shake a martini, mix an old fashioned, pair a glass of red with a steak—but it’s the intangibles that set him apart. For one thing, he tells an incredible baseball story (he’s been serving major league umpires for 13 years, so he’s on familiar terms—for instance, when Phil Cuzzi came in for a burger after his blown foul call in the Yankees-Twins playoffs, Jocko remarked, “I had you marked down for room service today, Phil.”).
Jocko knows he’s an anachronism in the scene of foie gras bourbon and fizzy gin, and he revels in it. As for the cocktail renaissance, he snickers about “those guys calling themselves ‘alchemists’ ” and quotes Nick from It’s a Wonderful Life: “Hey look, mister, we serve hard drinks in here for men who want to get drunk fast, and we don’t need any characters around to give the joint ‘atmosphere.’ Is that clear, or do I have to slip you my left for a convincer?”