in Key West, bartenders act as our counselors, our friends and sometimes our priests. After all, they see us at our best and our worst (and sometimes our most vulnerable of moments), yet they share a level of our trust and respect that is often reserved for the closest of friends.

And this year, the voters nominated three of the most notable practitioners of the trade in the southernmost city. Jenn Stefanacci, Landon Bradbary and Tom Luna, who all carry a deep affinity for one another, will respectfully (well, sometimes) compete for the title of Best Bartender in the Bubbas: Key West People’s Choice Awards.

JENN STEFANACCI
Owner of 22&Co
8.5 years in Key West

 

 

 

How many years have you been bartending?
Eighteen years — holy crap, more than half my life!

What has bartending taught you about life, and about Key West?
Drunk people have the same mentality as small children — “You can’t sleep here,” “Do you need a sippy cup?,” “Don’t worry, I’ll clean up after you,” “Noooo, don’t go to the bathroom here!” And there are hundreds of places to get a drink in Key West. Locals don’t go to bars, they go to bartenders.

Pet peeve at the bar?
When people ask for free drinks/discounts … now you pay double. Hahah!

Finish these sentences…
At the bar, no one should ever … walk out on their tabs. I will Facebook shame you, then we will find you.

People don’ realize that bartenders can … hear everything.

Making a drink is similar to … making custom happiness for each individual.

I probably got nominated (by the voters) for my Bubba because … of my amazing, creative drinks. Okay fine, my boobs.

 

LANDON BRADBARY
Afternoon DJ for Pirate Radio 96.7 FM
(former bartender The Porch)
Defending 3x “Best Bartender” at the Bubbas

 

 

How many years have you been bartending?
I did almost an eight-year run at the Porch.

What has bartending taught you about life and about Key West?
As a rule, most people just want to go out and have a good time. It’s your job to help guide them through it.

Pet peeve at the bar?
Be ready! Know what your whole order is. Have your money ready when I ask for it or a credit card out to start a tab. If you need a little help in picking a beer, ask for a taste, step to the side, enjoy it, ask me questions about it — but I’m going to be serving other people while we do this part.

Finish these sentences…
At the bar, no one should ever … talk politics or religion.

People don’ realize that bartenders can … monitor the vibe of a bar without even looking up.

Making a drink is similar to … I don’t know. I just pour beer. [see Luna’s sign].

I probably got nominated (by the voters) for my Bubba because … I like to tell a good story.

 

TOM LUNA
Aqua Night Club | The Marker
Over 30 years in Key West

 

 

How many years have you been bartending?
Let’s just say more than 30 years. Waaay more.

What has bartending taught you about life and about Key West?
People are basically good. And the people of Key West are the very best.

Pet peeve at the bar?
Separate checks.

Finish these sentences …
At the bar, no one should ever … ask for separate checks!!!

People don’ realize that bartenders can … be just like you. Just an ordinary person. Just kidding! LOL.

Making a drink is similar to … being that mad scientist guy in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. You know the one.

I probably got nominated (by the voters) for my Bubba because … just to end Landon Bradbary’s (if that’s his real name) three-year winning streak.

Note: The Marker will host a benefit for MARC to promote Tom Luna for Best Bartender on Sunday, July 8 from 1 to 4 p.m. Drink specials, music and pool fun.

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