EVERYBODY HAS a favorite bartender. I won't name mine, but the other day while waiting for one to refill my pint, I came up with this list of 20 fictional bartenders I wish would pour me a beer. Read on, and let me know your favorite.
1. "Moe" Szyslak ("The Simpsons"). "Homer, lighten up!
You're making happy hour bitterly ironic." Yes, the reg'lars drink Duff, but tell me you wouldn't want to try a Flaming Moe made by the master himself.
2. Coach Ernie Pantusso ("Cheers"). Call Coach (Nicholas Colasanto) dumb, but only a complete professional could serve an insufferable twerp like Frazier Crane without dumping a mug over his head.
3. Kitty Russell ("Gunsmoke"). Miss Kitty (Amanda Blake) was the ultimate tease. She poured drinks for 20 years at Dodge City's Long Branch Saloon and never once offered Sheriff Matt Dillon a quickie upstairs in her bordello.
4. Joe the Bartender ("The Jackie Gleason Show"). Before he was Ralph Kramden, Gleason served up whiskey and wit each week to the home audience and, later, to Crazy Guggenheim. How sweet he was!
5. Phil ("Murphy Brown"). You always got the sense that Phil (Pat Corley) knew more about D.C. than Murphy herself. No wonder he faked his death and entered the federal witness-protection program.
6. Sascha ("Casablanca"). In a film filled with classic characters, this "crazy Russian" bartender (Leonid Kinskey) pours a mean Champagne cocktail and rattles off a couple of pithy lines. When a beautiful customer complains that Rick has cut off her drinks, Sascha tells her, "Yvonne, I love you. But he pays me."
7. Marion Ravenwood ("Raiders of the Lost Ark"). The owner of the Raven (Karen Allen) can drink Mongols under the table, throw a right hook, mix it up with Nazis and still look pretty decent in a silk nightie.
8. Jackie ("Andy Capp"). It's hard to understand how Andy, the brawling, pip-squeak English rugby fan, ever got that red nose, considering how often his barman cut him off.
9. Mr. Dooley (Chicago Post). The creation of newspaperman Finley Peter Dunne (a turn-of-the-century Mike Royko), Dooley was a wise-cracking Irish bar owner known for his scathing jabs at politicians and robber barons. It was Dooley who first said, "Trust everybody, but cut the cards."
10. Sidney ("The Ice Harvest"). One minute he's calling his mother a whore, the next he's breaking one of his customer's fingers. But don't worry. Sidney (Ned Bellamy) is a good-hearted soul who covers for
reg'lars and takes his kids to Six Flags.
11. Quark ("Star Trek: Deep Space Nine"). You had to count your change when Quark (Armin Shimerman) poured you a Romulan Ale on Deep Space Nine. But that was a lot better than listening to Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg) drone on at the U.S.S. Enterprise lounge.
12. Woody Boyd ("Cheers"). Woodrow Tiberius Boyd (Woody Harrelson) ably filled in when Coach passed on, tossing setups to Norm. But the show jumped the shark when he married an heiress and, later, won election to the Boston City Council.
13. Isaac Washington ("The Love Boat"). The hardest working bartender on TV. There were something like 30 bars on the Pacific Princess, but Isaac (Ted Lange) was the only guy you ever saw mixing drinks.
14. Thumbelina ("Total Recall"). This short woman (Debbie Lee Carrington) could carry a full tray and an automatic weapon. Make sure you tip her well.
15. Archie ("Duffy's Tavern"). No, not Archie Bunker (although TV's biggest bigot did briefly pour suds after he bought Kelsey's Bar). This Archie (Ed Gardiner) managed Duffy's Tavern for 12 years on the radio, welcoming big-name celebrities (Bing Crosby, Bob Hope) with a friendly insult.
16. Rosie ("M*A*S*H"). No draft beer at Rosie's, but this ramshackle joint was the only quiet sanctuary for Hawkeye and friends during their long stint in Korea. And Rosie (Eileen Saki) never flagged anyone.
17. Miss Postelthwaite ("Mulliner Nights"). P.G. Wodehouse's best stuff usually involves a stiff drink, perhaps shared at the Angler's Rest. Miss Postelthwaite was the "erudite barmaid," known for putting a good polish on her glassware.
18. Violet Sanford ("Coyote Ugly"). Couldn't make a 7&7 without a calculator, but thank god for Piper Perabo's Wonderbra.
19. Randy ("One Night at McCool's"). Matt Dillon plays the most clueless bartender ever to pick up a rag. First, he covers up for a babe who guns down a guy in his bar. Then he falls blindly in love with her while she sends him off on a robbery spree.
20. Brian Flanagan ("Cocktail"). You want to tell the world's greatest glass juggler to just pour the damn beer, pal. Still, I'd pay good money to see Tom Cruise lose it after shattering a martini glass. *