Friday, May 15, 2015

Five Things That Make A Great Bartender Other Than Being “Hot”

Here is a copy of the article I wrote for Queerty.com
Five Things.... Original article

To celebrate The Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic, Castro bartender, comedian and author Yuri Kagan came up with five things that make a great bartender.
1. “Hot” is not enough 
A six-pack, low cut T-shirt and looking great in tight jeans may initially land you a job in some establishments. But that’s it. Longevity in the job comes from personality, skill and multitasking oders. Personality is what wins the game. We’ve all been annoyed by pretty but incompetent servers who think that posing is all the job requires. Meanwhile, the line gets longer.
2. Don’t be a booze know-it-all
When a customer leans into your station, resist the urge to educate on the distillation process of various spirits or waste time on arguing the difference between top and bottom shelf vodka–unless the customer asks. People come to bars to unwind, not for a history lesson.
3. Create a show
It really is all about the drama, and not just at gay bars. You are the entertainment. (Along with the Kay Perry vids on the big screen or the ballgame.) Slow, busy, bar patrons are checking you out. Making the mundane look interesting is key. Keep up several conversations while mixing your fabulous concoctions. Tell stories. They don’t even have to be true as long as they are interesting. A true bartender has the gift of being able to keep a conversation going seamlessly among multiple people.
4. Size matters
Don’t be obvious about how precise you are measuring the alcohol content of a cocktail. It makes people think that they are getting less alcohol–even if the opposite is true. People who think they are getting stiffed don’t return. Be generous.
5. Good guys finish first
Smile even when your heart is aching. In fact, don’t talk about your personal life at all. Ever. Patrons are there to have fun, not be your therapist. It’s just sending your life down a rabbit-hole without the benefit of a hallucinogenic. No one needs to know all about your BS. People come to unload their problems and not hear about yours.
The Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic is almost here. Eleven cities have already picked bartenders to send to the Grand Finale in Key West, with just two West Coast events remaining–Seattle (May 17) and San Francisco (May 27).
Comedian Yuri Kagan has spent the past decade bartending at watering holes around San Francisco. From thumping gay clubs like Badlands and mixology taverns like Blackbird to dives like Edge. Check out his book, Vodka & Limelight.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A recent comedy set

Here is a set in the works... Polishing a turd.



Friday, April 10, 2015

13 Guaranteed Ways To Fail At Picking Up Someone Up At A Bar From A Castro Bartender

Repost from original article on Queerty.com


For a nearly a decade Yuri Kagan, author Vodka & Limelight, has slung drinks at watering holes, from the gay male variety to the sexually ambiguous sort. 
He collected some of his best tips on how to get lucky or go home alone…
1. Boy you must be tired… of running through my mind all night… Those cheeks look good enough to eat off.
So your once trusty pickup-lines are now greeted by an awkward stare? Stop using them. There are great conversation starters, others linger like bad gas. A great pickup-line that works for both sexes: You look familiar, do I know you from somewhere? It works even if you know you have never met. It’s an easy way to start a conversation, casually flirt and put feelers out with little risk. If after two words you aren’t into it just apologize and go back to fishing the cherry out of the bottom of your drink. Awkwardness minimized.
2. While on a date where booze is involved don’t blame booze for everything you fuck up. 
I didn’t mean to grab your butt, I’m drunk. First off, know your limits and take responsibility for your own actions. Second, blaming booze doesn’t make sense. I wouldn’t blame Sake for Pearl Harbor or Tequila for stealing American jobs so leave booze alone. On this topic, if you don’t live in dorms don’t act like it. It’s not a drinking competition. No one cares how much you drink unless they have to take care of you.
3. Don’t send anyone to do the flirting for you. 
This is true for any type of relationship.  You aren’t in study hall anymore so don’t send your gal pal up to tell me how you think I’m cute and ask what I think. If you want to know, do it yourself or live wondering forever.
4. See that bitch at Starbucks on his phone even while ordering coffee? 
The one where it’s hard to tell who she is talking to or about? The barista has to ask this person to repeat their drink so you just roll your eyes. Don’t be that person on a date. Put the phone away period.
5. Do not talk about you exes, people you have slept with, your painful corns, the co-worker that always steals your parking spot, your opinion on abortion, the death of your sister or cat. 
Keep your baggage to yourself like that bald spot you may have and only you notice. Like Santa, slowly gift your baggage out of your large bag of crap one item per date. It’s too much to hear all of another person’s problems in one sitting because we are usually more preoccupied with ourselves.
6. You know what’s hot on a date? Tipping.
Seriously, people that visibly tip get more play. It shows they are generous and care enough to pay for service. Bartenders don’t make the rules, it’s just the way it is. Also, don’t tell the other person how to tip. No one likes a backseat tipper.
unnamed-10-360x1887. Don’t ask the so why ya’ single?question unless you want to stay single.
It’s a pretty dumb question to which there is no good answer. No one wants to hear the response to which is the truth about how the love of your life dumped you at Ikea because you didn’t like his taste in paisley sheets.
8. Offer to pay now and again.
It’s about offering — with the freedom-based, rule free gay culture it’s sometimes hard to figure out the rules. Here is how it goes: If you invite the person out, you should at least offer to buy them a drink even if you know he will pay because of that great job as a Facebook programmer or Apple engineer. It’s about manners. This goes for both gay and straight relationships. Nothing is harder to watch then a woman who assumed her date was buying her a drink and doesn’t have enough cash. Also, if someone buys you drinks you don’t technically owe him anything but it could be considered common courtesy to let them at least cop a feel or more if you are feeling it after a few of those drinks.
9. Again, get off that phone!
Straight, gay or greedy it doesn’t matter. If you are out at a bar or place with a lot of single people, get off of Tindr, Grindr, Hookd or any variation/combination. It’s a bit redundant to be in a virtual bar in a real bar. Save that for when you’re at home or at work and there is slim-pickin if you are not interested in the boy next door or your roomie. No one want to walk up to you if you are absorbed in your phone, especially if you are on one of those apps chatting up the guy at the bar next door or in the townhouse up the street. We all know what you are doing as your finger slides across that screen. It’s especially annoying if we walk right past you and see a dick photo on your phone of a guy who is literally across the room.
10. Don’t talk to the bartender more than the person you are with. 
Also, make eye-contact. Not the creepy, couple seconds too long eye-contact. Just enough to show you care. On a side note: You won’t go home with the bartender so stop being rude.
11. Don’t be too quick to casually announce you don’t believe in condoms.
First off it could be considered irresponsible, depending on the circumstances, and is a case of putting the cart before the stallion or something like that.
12. A date is not the time to officially come out.
If you are new to gay, we already know cause you still have that new car smell.
13. Don’t pretend not to eat. 
You aren’t a Ken doll. Nothing is more sad then watching a woman or a gay man out on a date with a tiny salad while their date has the surf n’ turf. We know you are stuffing your fat gourd behind closed doors so keep it real.
Check out Yuri Kagan’s Vodka & Limelight on Amazon

Thursday, February 19, 2015

I'm in the Bay Area Reporter!

Check out this whole article out in the Bay Area Reporter about my book, "Vodka and Limelight!"

:)




http://ebar.com/bartab/article.php?sec=bartab&article=152

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What's new?


     What’ new?  The answer is everything and nothing all at the same time.  What a lot of people don’t know about me is that the last 9 months of my life have been the most amazing and horrible time of my life.  No I didn’t get pregnant.  Trust me I have tried!  I just got knocked down a million pegs.  That’s life though.  My mom says I’m like Cher, every time you think she’s done, she’s back.  That’s me I guess.  I like to consider myself like cheap cologne that lingers.  Recently I survived a broken-hip, not being able to walk for near 6 months, a strange sponge bath from an elderly Philippino man (not like porn’s would lead you to believe), moved in with my new partner (we aren’t in business partners), performed with and became friends with Margaret Cho, put out my first book, “Vodka and Limelight,” a couple horrible comedy sets, a handful of killer comedy sets, turned 30, realized that all my high school crushes are now balding, had to explain the sex appeal of JTT to a 10-year old, watched 35 Lifetime Movies, watched 40 hours of various Real Housewives shows, broke a crown in my mouth, caught up on all 8 seasons of 4 TV shows, re-watched all of Designing Women, ate 65 half-gallons of ice cream, ate 60 of hostess cup cakes, learned that in a pinch almost everything tastes better our of a crock-pot, gained 15 pounds, lost 20 pounds, gained 10 pounds back, went 3 months straight in pajamas, was nationally published in the Huffington Post (through Queerty), and had 75 cans of Diet Coke because one must watch their figure.  With all this being said, I was very depressed for much of the year, unable to look at life’s blessings.  I cried when I was able to walk on my own into a Starbucks on my own to get my silly Latte because I couldn’t do that on my own.  Now I tear up at the thought of a nice cup of coffee.  I also have been clawing my way back into comedy.  It has been harder than I though.  Booze helps though.  After being in complete pain at all times for months, this stuff is no big deal.  2015 is the year when my book and comedy brand will explode.  That’s all.

Monday, December 29, 2014

The day I shat myself... Rough draft

            My entire life my mother always told me that I was a 45 year old man since I was 5.  Anyone that has ever crossed paths with me could vouch for this.  I have always tried to take care of myself.  If I were allowed to I would probably have changed my own diaper.  As a kid, when guests were over, after a long meal I would offer them a cigarette.  It was the 80s.  It sounded less horrible then.

            It was in the 4th grade the first time I flew on an airplane.  I was 9, Boyz II Men were still boys, Queen Latifah still rapped and Madonna closer to the age of them boys in her music videos.  It was another time.  It was a little bit before we got dial-up.  If you don’t know what that means, look it up.  Anyway, our class spent most of the year raising money to go on a field trip to Sacramento.  After selling as many chocolate bars as our families could bare, our entire class went for just a day from our home base in San Diego to Sactown. 

            On this trip lots of parents came to chaperone their children on this trip to our state capital.  I was one of maybe 4 kids in our 30 person class who’s parent did not come on this trip.  At this time my mother worked 7 days a week and very hard to provide for me.  I packed up my walkman, fannypack, fruit by the foot candy and left for the trip.  I was assigned to hang out for the duration of the day with my friend Trey and his mother as my chaperone.


            The flight was 80 minutes long.  It was the longest of my life.  It seemed like eternity to little me, yet I only recently remembered this happened.  There was a point between landing and reaching the terminal where I lost it.  I don’t know why but I just lost bowel function.  Usually when I say this I am kidding.  In this situation I am not.  I was a cute, big-headed kid that shat his pants.  Even then I was a grown ass man because I took care of my shit most literally by myself.  I didn’t tell a soul that my pants were filled more than the bathing suits on “Bay Watch.”  I not only didn’t tell anyone, I also didn’t make a scene of any kind.  I spent the entire day walking around in my own shit, went panning for gold because that was what people did in Sacramento then, went to museums, took another flight back to San Diego and my lips were sealed.  No one knew.  Not even my mother.  The second I got home I scrubbed and washed my clothing so no one could be the wiser.  I figured that there was no reason to involve anyone else in my shit, a thought that I would echo later.  The interesting question is did the people on this trip have no sense of smell? 
 

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