How long I’ve worked there: Since the summer of last year.
What are my shifts: Friday upstairs at Judy, Saturdays and some Sundays at C’mon. I also usually work our Block Party at Good Judy — I think the next one is on Brooklyn Pride, so come and see me!
What makes this bar great: The talent that comes through is just out of control. For the most part, I work the bar in the performance spaces at both spots, and I’m just so lucky that I get to watch these absolutely inspired drag artists and musicians and burlesque performers and DJs every time I go to work. AND the cocktails are great? Truly there’s not many places in New York that do it so right.
Best drink I make: My Manhattans and Sazeracs have gotten me very far.
I love it when customers: Read the room. If it gets slammed and you switch gears from cocktails to mixed drinks or beer because you can see bar staff getting spread thin, you are beloved of us all.
I hate it when customers: Do calculus to make sure they don’t tip a cent more than they think they need to when there’s a nice, shiny 20% box ready to be checked on their receipt.
Craziest thing I’ve seen here: We had an especially big turnout for one of our late parties at C’mon, and someone took off their boots and sat them beside the bar to go dance barefoot. Think of the broken glass! Think of the hygiene! People stayed inside just long enough to completely forget how to act.
Other places I’ve worked: Young Ethel’s in Park Slope. I was also a ranger at the High Line some years ago, which was a fabulous job. I’m an erstwhile dancer / choreographer. I worked in abortion rights advocacy for a time. My resume is nothing if not eclectic.
My hometown: Norfolk, Virginia
Stuff I do when I’m not bartending: I’m a Polaroid photographer! Nothing captures how I see things quite like them. I love working with them. I have this gorgeous SX-70 that I take almost everywhere with me. I sell my prints and originals, so if you’re in the market for some cute art, check me out! I do everything from pretty flowers to sexy gay things, so there’s something for everybody.
Single or Taken: Single
Who/what turns me on: Intelligence, especially about something you love. If dinosaurs are your absolute favorite thing and you know everything about them, I’m going to want to hear it. Also if you can hold your own arguing with my Gemini ass about something, that’s so hot.
Favorite music: Disco! I’m listening to this thing called “The Pine Walk Collection” on Mixcloud right now — apparently someone bought a house in Fire Island, and the previous owner left behind hundreds of cassette tapes that were the recorded mixes of all these parties out there from the late 70s to the early 90s. The new owners are having them digitized and release a new one every week. It’s gorgeous and fun and haunting, and I highly recommend it.
Favorite movie or TV show: Auntie Mame
Favorite drag queen: Too many to pick a favorite, and too dangerous a task to consider.
My drag name would be: Donna Mitzvah
Favorite gogo boy: The one in my heart.
Favorite DJ: We’re up to our asses in great DJs at C’mon and Good Judy, but Knox once blended a remix of “9 to 5” and “Get Low” together, and I just think that’s really something special. James turns the party every single time; and Sean has a finger on the pulse of what makes the kids go wild unlike pretty much anyone I know. And if you find yourself in Manhattan and go to a Mattachine at Julius’ on a night with Angela, Amber, and John DJing, that’s the New York that made me.
Other stuff you need to know about me: I love cooking and antiquing, I can fold a fitted sheet, and when I grow up I’m gonna be an astronaut!
Follow me on: Instagram
Tip me at: @/$ianstearns