Great bartenders follow a calling in their hearts. Just ask Kady Bird. “I had just moved to Dallas and found work with an investment company,” reflects the former country girl from Dripping Springs. “The money was good but it was so monotonous. When the market started to crash, I instantly knew what I wanted to do.” Answering an ad on Craig’s List, she wrangled her way into bartending. “They were only looking for male bartenders. I persuaded them to take a chance on me.” Once she got a taste of high-volume bartending, she was hooked.
Today, Kady holds prime bartending positions at several popular Dallas nightclubs, but calls Cowboys Red River in Dallas her home. “These guys have been in business since the 80’s. They’ve got the whole ‘country thing’ down. If you want to experience some authentic Texas honky tonk, there’s no place like it.” If she looks familiar, it may be because you’ve seen her before. Kady models on the side, and has even appeared in a music video. Though there’s plenty to keep her busy, the self-described fitness nut likes to stay in shape by lifting weights at the gym. In her spare time, you might find her thumbing through a copy of Architectural Digest. “I rearrange my living room all the time. It always freaks my friends out. I think they come over expecting a bartender’s pad and are surprised when they find out I’ve got a flair for décor. I love bartending, but interior design might be my ultimate calling in life.”
What life lessons have you learned while bartending?
To be calm when I handle people. Growing up in the country like I did, we learned not to put up with too much. As a result, I grew up quick to anger, quick to defend myself. But as a bartender, you can’t be that way. Intoxicated people can get highly emotional, so you have to be patient and clam. You have to do your best to not get too defensive, to not take the people or situations too seriously.
What would you tell a beginning bartender?
The craft of bartending goes way back, so I worked at a variety of places to learn different styles. I wanted to learn each one. So my advice would be to work and study at a variety of places, like nightclubs, pubs, fine dining, lounges. Also, read, read, read. If you don’t know how to do something, you can find a book on it or look it up on You Tube. There are all types of instructional videos on there, where you can learn how liquors, like scotch for instance, are made and the history behind them.
What sets you apart from other bartenders?
I try to set myself apart in every way, whether its my appearance or in my attitude. I’ve noticed that everything gets better when I project a happy, professional image behind the bar. Also, my tips increase dramatically. You have to be happy to be there and to let your customers see it. People gravitate toward happy people. Besides, bartending can be so much fun if you let it. I like to dance a lot behind the bar. Sometimes I’ll grab a shaker and put on a show like I’m singing into the microphone. I also get a lot of compliments on my drink knowledge.
What’s your hangover cure?
I’ve got a juicer and I’ll use it on veggies. I’ll do tomatoes, celery, cucumbers, red and gold beets, berries, just about anything. It gives you a blast of antioxidants and all these nutrients to counter the toxins from overindulging and makes your headache go away. The last thing you want is a lot of cold water just sitting in your stomach. This way you get liquid, but it’s still digestible. If nothing else, drink some V-8 with cracked black pepper.
What’s the dumbest thing a drunk customer has done?
This one guy thought it would be a good idea to throw his spit cup into the trashcan behind the bar. Into my trashcan, you know, rather than the giant-sized container standing right next to him. The cup hit the edge, bounced, and splashed all over me. This was at midnight at Cowboys Red River, right in the middle of the evening rush. Now I’ve got this disgusting mess all over my clothes, all over my arms. I tried washing off as much as I could with the soda gun, but it was so gross. Finally, my co-worker covered me while I dashed to the bathroom to clean up properly. The guy’s girlfriend was so apologetic she reached into his wallet and gave me a $100 tip. That took some of the sting out of it.
For more info: Kady Bird bartends at Cowboys Red River, 10310 Technology Boulevard, Dallas, Texas, 75220; (214) 352-1796.
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