Bartender Chat: Brandon Ricks of Captain Foxheart's Bad News Bar & Spirit Lodge
When Captain Foxheart's Bad News Bar & Spirit Lodge first opened, there was an ongoing list on the chalkboard of fellow industry professionals who had broken glasses and were being publicly shamed for doing so.
Photos by Kaitlin Steinberg Tattooed and clad in plaid, Brandon Ricks holds down the fort at Bad News Bar.
That list has been replaced by a list of hashtags in colorful chalk. There's #CampartiLife and #NotaSpeakeasy. Below that, two instructions for how to enjoy the bar: #Don'ttouchthelamps and #MyNameisn'tHeyBro.
It's a place known for rules and order, as well as bartenders who enforce said rules without being assholes. They're stern, but they make a mean drink.
Bartender Brandon Ricks isn't an outwardly talkative fellow. He likes to make drinks and get his job done without necessarily listening to you chat about your day. Give him a chance to mix up something special for you, though, and he'll be swift, and the result will be delicious.
Pro tip: Order something with Campari.
How long have you been bartending?
It's going on five or six years now.
Why did you start?
I didn't want to work a day job. I was waking up for construction jobs, and that sucked. I didn't want to be awake at 6 a.m. anymore. I wanted to be going to bed at 6 a.m.
When did you start working here?
It's been about a year. I've known Justin [Burrow, the owner] for a while. I knew him from Grand Prize. I came in one day saying how I wish I worked at a bar again. I'd been working at Target for a while. Every now and then you get in those weird things where you're like, I don't want to do this for a while. So Justin said, "Come in Tuesday." So I came in Tuesday and started working here.
If you weren't bartending, what would you be doing?
I don't know. Working at Target? That place was legit. I did night stocking and moved heavy objects in the back of the warehouse. I wanted to be involved with as few people as possible.
But you're doing the opposite of that now at a bar where you have to interact with people...
Well yeah, but every once in a while you just need a break. People start to piss you off.
What do people do here that pisses you off?
Just don't touch the lamps. Justin found them at an antique store, and they mean a lot to him. People are drunk and sometimes kind of not careful. And stuff breaks. And stuff is hard to replace when it's an antique.
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