Bar Babe of the Month: Sean at Phoenix

The EV hawtness of Phoenix staple Sean!

Bar(s) that I work at: Phoenix

How long I’ve worked there: 5+ years…which I just realized is about a fifth of my entire life.

What are my shifts: Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights and Sunday day

What makes this bar great: There’s a reason I’ve been here so long; Phoenix is an institution since 1999 and, if I may say, is the preeminent gay bar on the LES. Down here it’s not the same circuitous promenade you get in HK or Christopher Street, so our crowd is very neighborhood local with a grungy late-night East Village flare. What makes Phoenix unique is how it’s now owned and operated by the very bartenders that have worked there for years. Our matriarch Brenda, who also owns 3 Dollar Bill, has instilled a brutal work ethic and loving commitment in each of us to this bar. We ran Phoenix for almost two years through Covid with our core crew of just three staff–and that’s the vibe of Phoenix. It’s a small, hardworking and fiercely driven family, and that includes our patrons. No one can really call themselves a Phoenix regular unless they’ve been drafted in to help along the way.

Best drink I make: French 75. People think it’s a bad idea to order cocktails in a neighborhood bar, but that’s the trick: I don’t have some hibicus-infused agave oil to hide behind, just the basic ingredients… so the technique and delivery on those classic cocktails has to be off the fucking charts.

I love it when customers: Know what they want. The entire order in one go, no pauses, don’t worry I will remember.

I hate it when customers: You are a fully grown male… why are you shyly whispering your order into your friend’s ear for them to relay to me? Also, you are not a celebrity. If there’s any diva here, it’s me–this is my party at my bar that I am hosting. Please calm down on all fronts! I’m very responsive to the energy you’re giving me, and believe me I’ve been doing this long enough that I can spot a complete cunt from the way they walk in the door… so just chill and imagine your favourite grandparent is standing behind you.

Look, entering a bar is to enter a social contract: you agree to behave politely and tip appropriately, and I agree to serve and entertain you. And if everyone just sticks to their side of the contract, I guarantee everyone will have fun and go home with great memories.

Craziest thing I’ve seen here: I can’t even think of a single incident that doesn’t incriminate anyone. Basically nothing shocks me anymore, and I have no innocence left.

Other places I’ve worked: 3DB, and before some pubs and gay bars not worth mentioning. Truly, there is no “before.” Life begins at Phoenix.

My hometown: Dublin, Ireland. The accent is mostly gone.

Stuff I do when I’m not bartending: My days off are incredibly unsexy. I rarely go out partying, because my job is basically being out partying. I like to go to the theatre, and I spend a lot of money at restaurants that I’m neurotically particular about choosing. Most days I just go the gym, watch tv and play video games.

Single or Taken: Every decent bartender should at least tell you they’re single.

Who/what turns me on: BDE.

Favorite music: Gregorian Chant. Nah, literally anything. Whatever the vibe is and whatever gets the crowd going. If in doubt, I’ve always thought Azealia Banks has the right words to fit any situation.

Favorite movie or TV show: Mad Men, hands down greatest show in the history of mankind. It touches every topic and theme imaginable. It is a thesis on gender, race, parenting, identity, American Capitalism–and how all the aforementioned relate to it. The dialogue and acting are unmatched. I watch a lot of tv, and I have yet to see anything come close to this perfection. And the character of Joan Holloway is loosely based on myself.

Favorite drag queen: I like drag queens who are irreverent, tongue-in-cheek and self-aware. Right now I think Boyish Charm is the hottest young queen on the scene; she is a phenomenal host, and can get any crowd going. She has this way of making everyone feel like they’re at a fun house party. Alotta McGriddles is a queen in the same vein who can work a mic and crowd like no other; she has this hilarious natural sarcasm, and leans in to the absurd.

My drag name would be: Mike Hunt.

Favorite gogo boy: The straight stripper from Staten Island who asked me what “that big park in the centre of Manhattan is called.”

Favorite DJ: T-Boy and Mannie Petty are ambitious DJs that know how to read a crowd while also putting their own spin on a night. Most of all, I like DJs without obnoxious egos that are easy to work with.

Other stuff you need to know about me: I have terrible eyesight, I’m not being rude I literally cannot see you.

Follow me on: IG

Tip me at: Venmo is for cucks. Come tip me in person, if you dare.

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