Folk singer

Jake McKelvie solo project plays Milford

Few New England songwriters have Jake McKelvie’s command of clever wordplay. In just two lines from “Eat Around the Pudding,” from 2020’s delightful LP Here’s What You Do, he rhymes homeowner, combover and organ donor while still delivering a jaunty tune that’s either a breakup song or musical self-therapy. It’s hard to tell which.

The fun continues on a new solo McKelvie project that’s separate from his longtime band the Countertops. A preview of the 12-song collection due later this year promises an album sparkling with charm.

On various tracks, McKelvie alludes to Rodney Dangerfield, drily notes that a fire in the belly can’t heat a room, and tells the object of his affection, “it’s a lie to imply you complete me, but you’re still a big part of the meal,” sung in a voice that walks the wire between childlike wonder and crusty bemusement. It’s all simply delightful.

A new, as yet unnamed band will back McKelvie at Union Coffee Co. in Milford on March 30. It includes bassist Mike Holland (Dutch Tulips) and Countertops drummer Matt Bacon, along with a second guitar player, a position that’s being filled by a few different people based on availability.

McKelvie’s lyrical sensibility remains, but musically, it’s something of a pivot. “Which is another one of the reasons why it’s kind of distinct from Countertops stuff,” he said in a recent phone interview. “The songs are a little bit slower. I don’t wanna say slow per se, but it leans more into the folk-like, songwriter aspect of what I do as opposed to the kind of rambunctious goofy thing that the Countertops lean into more.”

The impetus for starting a new effort came down to scheduling. Fewer Countertops gigs meant bass player Nick Vontruba and Bacon had to fill in the gaps.

“Basically, everyone’s got their hands in a few different projects,” McKelvie said. “That’s just the way things go.”

Creatively, he was feeling another pull.

“I had a batch of songs that I’ve been eager to do something with, and it just wasn’t really feasible for us to do them with the group,” McKelvie said. “We haven’t broken up or anything, we’re just kind of in a dormant phase. We’ll still probably play shows here and there and whatnot, but this is what feels right to do right now.”

The new band formed in November and has played a handful of shows, including four so far this year.
“It’s been kind of a slow build-up,” McKelvie said. “Now the record is finished; I’m figuring out release plans. I’ve got a tour mostly booked for April and I’m starting to work on some additional tours for later in the year.”

Both Bacon and Holland played on the forthcoming album. “They’re locked in,” McKelvie said, adding, “I’ve gotten lucky getting some good guitar players who are fast learners and have done a great job picking them up really quick. The shows we’ve played, I’ve felt pretty good about, and it does feel nice to be playing some new songs.”

He’s especially pleased with the new material.

“I’ve wanted to do this songwriting forward type of record for a while,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of scrappy home recorded solo things over the years, but this is like a proper studio version of that…. I just think it’s a pretty good record.”

Fans can expect to see a lot more of Jake McKelvie & Friends, or whatever name he finally comes up with.

“I’m trying to play as much as possible this year, so there’s a good chance I’ll be skipping around New England and other parts of the country as much as I can,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to playing a bunch of shows this year.”

He’s performed at Union Coffee many times in the past and looks forward to returning.

“I love playing there,” he said. “We’re playing with this band Trash Sun who I did a show with a few months ago. They’re kind of a newer New Hampshire band, I think, nice guys. Union Coffee is a great spot. They have always treated us really well, and I’m looking forward to getting back.”

Jake McKelvie
When: Saturday, March 30, 7 p.m.
Where: Union Coffee Co., 42 South St., Milford

Featured photo: Jake McKelvie. Courtesy photo.

The Music Roundup 24/03/28

Local music news & events

Island groove: AER singer-songwriter and producer Carter Reeves created Surfer Girl while hunkered down in Maine during the early days of the pandemic, summoning his inner Brian Wilson; yes, the name was inspired by the Beach Boys song. Their new CD Noon features Carmody, Jared Watson of Dirty Heads and Tessellated. They play a free 21+ local show with Sitting On Stacy and Ryan Wright. Thursday, March 28, 7 p.m., The Goat, 50 Old Granite St., Manchester. See

Lake laughter: Monthly standup comedy in an idyllic setting continues as Amy Tee and Mark Scalia bring the funny. Tee’s act is honest and revealing and hilarious. Friday, March 29, 7 p.m., Newfound Lake Inn, 1030 Mayhew Turnpike, Bridgewater, $25 and up at

It’s covered: An area favorite for over two decades, Souled Out Show Band now has visuals in their high-energy show, which draws from the best of classic rock and soul. Sets include hits from Chicago, Journey, Tina Turner, Doobie Brothers and newer acts like Bruno Mars. For an upcoming Manchester show, fans can submit their seat number for a drawing to win dinner at Hanover Street Chophouse. Saturday, March 30, 7:30 pm., Rex Theatre, 23 Amherst St., Manchester, $29 at

Electronic day: Get some hands-on time with a Moog and other gear at Synthfest, along with short performances from event host Bosey Joe and Delusive Relics. The afternoon meet-up offers a chance to connect with other synth-curious and other electronic music minded folks, chat with some musicians, and attend a master class-style introduction to analog synthesis. Saturday, March 30, 1 p.m., Concord Rec Department, 14 Canterbury Road, Concord, donations requested; see

Nineties redux: After leaving Queensrÿche, the band he fronted for years, Geoff Tate went on the road celebrating their big albums Empire, Rage For Order and Operation: Mindcrime. However, he hasn’t made a solo disc in seven years. Tate did recently tell an interviewer he has about 40 new songs, though a new record may be a while, because, he said, “it’s so much work.” Monday, April 1, 8 p.m., Angel City Music Hall, 179 Elm St., Manchester, $30 and up at

Never Been Better by Leanne Toshiko Simpson

Never Been Better by Leanne Toshiko Simpson (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 288 pages)

If you don’t know what it’s like to struggle with mental illness, Never Been Better offers a fresh perspective with a fun plot and a good amount of humor — which, fair warning, veers toward the dark side at times. If you have experienced mental illness, or been close to someone who has, you’ll likely relate to many of the messages in this book.

The protagonist is Dee Foster, a woman with bipolar disorder who hesitantly agrees to travel to Turks and Caicos to attend the wedding of her best friends, Matt and Misa, then decides that as long as she’s there she might as well let Matt know she’s in love with him — and has been since the three of them met in a psychiatric ward.

I think it’s important to note that, although this is fiction, author Leanne Toshiko Simpson has bipolar disorder, so her characters are drawn in part from her own experiences — which, for me, was important to know, because some of the dark humor might have felt disingenuous, almost flippant, if it had been written by someone who hadn’t lived these thoughts and feelings. And using humor to cope is certainly not uncommon. (“I’m glad depression gives me the sex drive of a ham sandwich,” Dee replies when Tilley points out an attractive man and comments that she’s glad she wore her push-up bra.)

I should mention that I’m a (relatively new) therapist, so I read Never Been Better from that perspective, as well as the perspective of someone who has dealt with depression and anxiety. I respect that Toshiko Simpson doesn’t shy away from the very real challenges that mood disorders can present, even as life goes on and people plan weddings and love triangles ensue. The story somehow feels both deeply heavy and blissfully light.

Dee’s sister Tilley plays a solid part in that lightness; she’s wild, bold and fiercely dedicated to protecting Dee. She also embodies the challenges of loving someone with a mood disorder, navigating the slippery slope between emotional accommodations and tough love. In one scene, Dee is struggling hard to get up for an early-morning barre class at the resort they’re staying at, thanks in no small part to the side effects of her medications. But this is nothing new to her, or to Tilley.

“‘After this many years of living in the same house, I should have earned a damn black belt in helping you wake up,’ said Tilley. ‘Just today I’ve pulled all the sheets off your body, turned all the lights on, licked the side of your face…’ More footsteps, then Tilley dumped a full glass of water over my head.”

As Dee struggles openly and honestly, she feels some resentment toward Misa, whose wealthy family doesn’t know she met Dee and Matt in the psychiatric ward, because she never told them she was there as a patient and continues to conceal her mental illness from them, presumably because it doesn’t “fit” into their tidy, proper world.

“Misa went on to run an entire golf tournament dedicated to bipolar disorder without happening to mention her [own bipolar disorder]. … What I really wanted was for her to … be messy in her illness, like I was in mine.”

Good days for Dee are the ones where she doesn’t crave a depression nap, she can get across town on a bus without having a panic attack, or she can make it through a first date without the guy asking, before she’s about to spend the night, whether she’ll be the same person when she wakes up in the morning. So getting through this destination wedding is all kinds of hard, as she navigates her feelings about Matt (while also trying to figure out how to confront him after she finds out he’s stopped taking his meds) and her feelings about Misa, who she felt so close with when they were in the hospital but feels so distant from now.

Along with those considerable issues, Dee is fighting to keep up with the daily pre-wedding activities among Misa and Matt’s friends and family — a whole other fun cast of characters that bring levity to this book, from a kindhearted grandma to a spunky but wise cousin.

This is the debut novel for Toshiko Simpson, who, awesomely, also co-founded a reflective writing program at Canada’s largest mental health hospital. Though at times Never Been Better edges a little too close to the line between mirth and despair, in Toshiko Simpson’s understanding hands it comes together as a heartfelt story of persevering time and time again in the face of mental illness. A-

Album Reviews 24/03/28

Warlord, Free Spirit Soar (High Roller Records)

Ha ha, I owned a Warlord album once when I was a young heavy metal incel, but I only listened to it maybe three times because it wasn’t all that good, sort of like a cross between Anvil and, I don’t know, maybe Scorpions I guess. Singer Bill Tsamis died in 2021, but original drummer and co-founder Mark Zonder is here.

The promo sheet on this one claims that this U.S. band was an early epic-metal band. Funny it should say that, because album-opener “Behold a Pale Horse” is definitely epic-metal. It has caveman-ren-faire drums a la Corvus Corax, and the singer is really serious, singing about witch-kings and prophets or something. Yeah, no, this stuff has a Savatage bend to it. “Conquerors” is street-metal in the vein of Riot, except the dude’s singing about giant cyclops or something. A

Marc Valentine, Basement Sparks (Wicked Cool Records)

This guy, whom Vive Le Rock magazine anointed as “the new king of British power-pop,” qualifies for that “prize” I suppose, for what it’s worth. This is the follow-up full-length to his debut album from last year, and he comes storming out of the gate on this one, with the They Might Be Giants-like “Complicated Sometimes,” which breaks the emo mold a bit by using a Mister Roboto effect on his voice (you never hear that anymore, not that anyone cares). The overall vibe tenders a cross between Dashboard Confessional and a slightly cartoonish version of eastern European grog-punk bands like Korpiklaani, which means the listener is in for a fun ride (I never understood how people could take “power pop” bands seriously, so it’s refreshing to note that this guy takes a lot of his cues from 1970s glam bands). Speaking of Marc Bolan, the tune “Tyrranical Wrecks” is a ton of fun, with Valentine trying on-the-phone patch on for size. I hope this guy breaks big. A+


• Uh-oh, Friday, March 29, is a big day, because it is the last CD release day of our Antarctican winter, meaning that spring is definitely here! Sheryl Crow’s new album, Evolution, is the first one we will laugh look at today; you all remember Crow from her multi-platinum-whatever soccer mom hits, but did you know that she contributed her singing talents to William Shatner’s 2011 joke album, Seeking Major Tom, covering the song “Seeking Major Tom” originally rendered on the K.I.A. album Adieu Shinjuku Zulu, did you even know that? Of course not, who would, but this new one is her 12th album and features the single “Digging in the Dirt,” featuring Peter Gabriel, whom we discussed in this award-winning column just a few weeks ago. He originally released the song (which won the Best Video Grammy) in his 1992 studio album Us. How will Sheryl Crow improve on this song? Will she even try to? Let me go to the YouTube and listen to it, so you don’t have to. OK, it’s basically the same thing except with Sheryl Crow singing all the lines, like, “This time you’ve gone too far” and all that stuff, and every once in a while Gabriel pops in like Punxsutawney Phil the groundhog in order to ensure that it’s as boring as the original. This is a very clever marketing strategy, I have to admit.

• Slovenly chamber-pop singer and Libertines hanger-on Ed Harcourt is back with a new album, called El Magnifico, please stay calm, there will be enough MP3s of this album for all of you to pirate at your favorite pirating website, and no, I have no idea where to find those, because I am an upstanding citizen; now, quiet, you guys, while I try to enjoy the new single, “Deathless,” from this new album. It opens with an indie-folk fractal with some dubstep drums underneath it for some reason, and then it turns into a not-really-bad tune that sounds like Imagine Dragons covering a Conor Oberst B-side. Things could be a lot worse, I suppose, even if the video is really boring, something about standing in a dangerous-looking field of cacti, not that there are any cacti in England, which is where Harcourt is from. And let’s keep moving.

• Brooklyn, N.Y.-based artist Kelly Moran’s music, according to Wikipedia, is a mixture of electronic, jazz, dream pop and black metal, and her record company is Warper Records, which tells me I’m not going to enjoy listening to her new album Moves In The Field at all, not that I’m going into this with a negative attitude or anything of the sort, and besides, she used to play bass for the no-wave punk band Cellular Chaos, so let’s give this LP the benefit of the doubt going in, that’d be great. OK, so the video for the single “Butterfly Phase” features a figure skater interpreting this excitable but sad piano-driven melody, and then it gets sadder and sadder, and all the YouTube commentators are saying they’re crying, and then I started crying myself because I couldn’t understand why a bunch of people were getting emotional over the song, which just sounds like a bummer-piano thing. Maybe they were crying because the figure skater wasn’t doing triple-salchows or pratfalling onto the ice, the latter of which is the only reason people watch figure skating in the first place. I mean, I’m openly sobbing right now.

• Lastly it’s alt-rock band Chastity Belt, from Walla Walla, Washington, and yes, that’s a real place. Live Laugh Love is the all-girl band’s new album, and the single is part folk-indie and part psychedelica. It is gentle and catchy enough; the main verse part is boring, the bridge is OK.

Pomegranate Daisy

Spring is finally here. It’s not like it’s been a long, cold and lonely winter — more of a muddy, slushy, test of emotional endurance — but the idea of mild, pre-mosquito weather is a deeply appealing one.

The time has come for porch-sitting.

Maybe not for a long stretch of time — it still gets chilly after dark — but it’s definitely the start of Porch Season. Which, of course, calls for cocktails. It’s probably a little premature to break out the tiki mugs yet (that’s what Memorial Day weekend is for: action movies and loud Hawaiian shirts) but definitely something with a hint of the tropics.

Which, sooner or later, means grenadine.

If you’re not a huge fan of tropical drinks, you might not be terribly familiar with grenadine. In theory, it’s a syrup made from pomegranate juice that will lend a juicy flavor to a cocktail, typically one with five or more ingredients. In practice, it’s a bright red syrup that mostly gets added to drink recipes to add sweetness and a tropical roseyness. Think about a tequila sunrise: That beautiful ombre color comes from grenadine and orange juice playing off each other.

Is there a way to make grenadine a more active participant in your porch-sitting cocktail?

As it turns out, there is.

Making your own grenadine

Combine one part sugar and two parts unsweetened pomegranate juice in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a boil. Stir to make sure all the sugar has dissolved, then remove from heat.

That’s it.

This is really good grenadine. If you happen to have a bottle of regular grenadine laying around, do a taste comparison. Taste the commercial stuff. It’s fine — it’s sweet and vaguely fruity, about what you’d expect from grenadine. Now try the homemade stuff. The sheer juiciness of this might rock you back on your heels. It’s sweet, but not cloyingly. It tastes deeply purple, with a little acidity that tickles those glands under your ears that flare up sometimes when you eat sharp cheddar.

Now try the commercial grenadine again. Why have you never noticed that artificial flavor before? This tastes like corn syrup and sodium benzoate.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m as big a fan of artificial ingredients as the next man. If they make something taste better, or keep it from molding, or make it feel better in my mouth, I’m all for it.

And yet.

This homemade grenadine tastes an order of magnitude better than the commercial stuff. It’s also incredibly simple to make. There’s no excuse not to.

Pomegranate Daisy

  • ¾ ounce homemade grenadine (see above)
  • ¾ ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1½ ounces dry gin – I decided not to go with a fancy gin this time and used Gordon’s; I think it was a good call

Combine all ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker.

Strain into a coupé glass.

Ask your digital assistant to play “Everyone Come Outside” by the Pomegranates. Sip contentedly on your front steps, calling out to strangers: “Forgive the intrusion, but you’re having a Very Good Hair Day!” or “Bless you, Child of the Universe!”

The best way to describe this cocktail — an abridged version of a classic Clover Leaf — is “juicy.” The homemade grenadine shines through, and its tartness plays off the lemon juice. A botanical gin, or some other gin that takes itself too seriously, would shoulder the juices aside and demand attention for itself. A modest, workmanlike gin like Gordon’s is a team player. It makes itself known and gives the enterprise a backbone but is happy to give equal billing to the juices.

It’s a good taste to take with you to the porch.

Featured photo: Pomegranate Daisy. Photo by John Fladd.

Not just for brunch

Barley House offers a DIY approach to bloody marys

Nikki Miller likes bloody marys.

“They are full of nostalgia, and absolutely delicious,” said Miller, a veteran bartender at The Barley House Restaurant & Tavern in Concord.

She likes them so much that she has put together a weekly event on Sundays called “Build Your Bloody.”

Patrons can order a bloody mary to exacting specificity: what type of vodka — or tequila for a bloody maria — and how much of it, extra seasonings, and, of course, what garnishes they want.

“Customers like to sit at the bar and watch me make it,” Miller said.

For several years, around the country, many bars have been in a bloody mary arms race to make the brunch-friendly cocktail with more and more extreme, over-the-top garnishes, a challenge Miller doesn’t shy away from.

“People like to order it because it’s fun and they’re super-hungry,” she said. The add-ons range from the classic celery — which complements the celery salt that is traditionally part of the spice mixture that gives a bloody mary its kick— to gherkins, olives, cocktail shrimp (“the big fat ones,” Miller enthuses), pepperoncini, or sometimes “just a big hunk of cheese.” Sometimes she has garnished a bloody mary with bacon-wrapped scallops.

“We have a regular who always orders an appetizer platter next to his, because it’s a snack as well as a drink,” Miller said.

Far and away, however, the most popular garnish is the Barley House’s house-made candied bacon.

“I have some customers who are all about the bacon,” Miller said. “They are really unhappy if they don’t get two slices of it.”

Miller came up with the concept for Build Your Bloody while tending bar on New Year’s Day. It’s usually a quiet day, because any rowdy customers have been up very late the night before, celebrating. Most of the customers had ordered bloody marys, and Miller thought about how much fun it would be to set up a bloody mary bar. The idea has turned out to have legs. Bloody marys are very popular on Sunday mornings, though Miller takes issue with the idea that they are just for brunch.

“We have a stigma in our heads that it’s just a breakfast cocktail,” she said, “and that just isn’t the case.”

Aside from the garnishes, the Barley House makes its bloody marys with vodka and a house-made bloody mary mix that Miller describes as “heavy on the horseradish, with spices and pickle juice.” She recommends Tito’s vodka, which she says has a clean taste that stands up to the spice-heavy bloody mary mix.

“I like to rim the glass with Tajin,” she said, referring to Tajin Clasico, a Mexican chile-lime powder.

As she thinks about new bloody mary garnishes, Millier said, she’d like to experiment with house-pickled fresh vegetables.

“We’ve talked about putting mini-sliders on skewers,” she said.

Bloody mary how you like it
The Barley House Restaurant & Tavern
132 N. Main St. in Concord,, 228-6363
Build Your Bloody runs from 11:30 a.m to 3 p.m. on Sundays.

Featured Photo: Photo courtesy of The Barley House.

Cheers to New Hampshire beers

Shops and breweries amped for Craft Beer Week

April 7 is National Beer Day and brewers of New Hampshire will be in the midst of New Hampshire Craft Beer Week, which runs April 4 through April 13.

Breweries across the state will celebrate, working to show the beer-drinkers of New Hampshire just how good their beer is. And they are expected to double down on beer-related festivities during Pint Days, April 7 through April 13.

Nobody is more excited about Craft Beer Week and Pint Days than CJ Haines. Haines, the Executive Director of the New Hampshire Brewers Association, says she looks forward to it every year. The breweries get really creative with their new beers and ales in April, she said.

“We don’t know about particular releases until closer to the event. It’s always a surprise,” Haines said. The rumor is that this year many will have a sun or outer space theme, to commemorate the April 8 eclipse.

Haines said, eclipse aside, exuberant feelings tend to run high among brewers in April anyway; a surprising number of breweries celebrate birthdays and anniversaries during the month.

“For some reason, a lot of breweries tend to open in April,” she says, which means there are a lot of celebration beers on tap as well.

Ali Lelleszi, one of the owners of Rockingham Brewing Co. (1 Corporate Park Dr. in Derry,, 216-2324), said her brewery is leaning hard into Craft Beer Week this year.

“We have a slew of food trucks visiting during the week,” she said. ”We’re also having a chili cook-off. Five of our staff are making chili with five of our beers. Customers can order a flight of chilis with a flight of the beers that were used to make them, and vote on which one they like the best.” It’s a good way, she says, to help customers learn how beer can complement food.

Customers can also take away tangible reminders of Craft Beer Week. On the first Thursday of every month, Lelleszi says, Rockingham Brewing holds an event called Ales & Alterations; customers can bring in a piece of clothing that needs to be mended, and drink a beer while they wait. During Craft Beer Week, she says, they can buy a commemorative patch and have it sewn on while they wait. “They can also buy a special pint glass as an add-on with their beer,” she says, referring to glasses commissioned by the Brewers Association and designed by New Hampshire artist Shane Buzzell of Crafty Beard Design in Plymouth. These glasses will be available at many participating breweries across the state.

Other breweries holding Craft Beer Week celebrations include Great North Aleworks (1050 Holt Ave., No. 14, in Manchester,, 858-5789), holding a Make Your Own Tie Dye Party on Thursday, April 11, and To Share Brewing Co. (720 Union St. in Manchester,, 836-6947), which will host a Thrift Shop Prom on Saturday, April 13.

New Hampshire Craft Beer Week, said CJ Haines, is about recognizing the diversity of New Hampshire’s brewers.

“It’s intended to raise awareness about New Hampshire’s brewers and the craft beers we have in the state,” she said. She says New Hampshire beer-drinkers don’t have to visit a brewery to celebrate Craft Beer Week, although she hopes they do.

“We want them to support their local beer shops. Our tagline is ‘Keep New Hampshire Brewing,’” Haines said, and she observes that anything that makes people appreciate New Hampshire craft beers is a win.

New Hampshire Craft Beer Week
When: Thursday, April 4, through Saturday, April 13, with Pint Days starting on April 7

Featured Photo: Courtesy photo.

The Weekly Dish 24/03/28

News from the local food scene

Get to know tea: The Cozy Tea Cart (104 Route 13 in Brookline,, 249-9111) will host a lecture and tea tasting, The Basics of Tea, tonight, March 28, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Owner Danielle Beaudette will teach participants the distinctions between white, green, oolong and black teas, and the differences between bagged and loose teas. Reserve a spot for $30.

Martinis and cupcakes: The Copper Door’s (15 Leavy Dr., Bedford, 488-2677, and 41 South Broadway in Salem, martini & cupcake pairing for April will be a “cannoli-tini” — Faretti Biscotti Italian liqueur, vanilla vodka, dark crème de cacao, and Baileys Irish Cream, with a chocolate chip rim — paired with a cannoli cupcake — an orange-zested vanilla cupcake with cinnamon-ricotta filling and a semi-sweet white chocolate swirl cup, garnished with a mini cannoli. The pairing will be available at both Copper Door locations throughout April.

Wine vs. wine: WineNot Boutique (25 Main St. in Nashua,, 204-5569) will host “Old World vs. New World,” on Wednesday, April 3, from 6 to 8 p.m. Participants will compare wines from several European wine regions to handcrafted wines from Terre Rouge and Easton Winery in the Sierra Foothills of California. Richard Jacob from Vinilandia NH and a representative from Terre Rouge and Easton Winery in California will be on hand to answer questions. Tickets are $35 each and available through WineNot’s website.

On The Job – Phil DiLorenzo

Bartender at Stark Brewing

Explain your job and what it entails.

I’ve been bartending for 34 years. Bartending instructor for 10. Basically, knowing bartender duties, making drinks, waiting the tables, waiting on the people, keeping your bar clean and stocked, and customer relations, is basically what I do.

What led you to this career field and your current job?

I was a carpenter in the ’80s…. I needed a secondary job to get me through the off season, so I picked this up. My father sent me to bartender school in 1990. I picked it up as a second job and as the years have gone on it’s morphed into my full-time work. I got trained as a bartender but then I got into restaurant work so I can wait tables, I can manage, I can host, I can do basically all aspects of the front of the house of the restaurant.

What kind of education or training did you need?

My only formal education was the bartending class that I took about 30 years ago. It was a 40-hour course. The rest of the training I’ve gotten is through companies and corporations training you to do stuff their way.

What is your typical at-work uniform or attire?

Generally, black and whites, or here, it is basically whatever I want as long as it isn’t offensive. Jeans and a Stark shirt is what they want me to wear. But generally I wear jeans, and if I don’t have a Stark shirt I’ll just wear black.

What is the most challenging thing about your work, and how do you deal with it?

Just dealing with the guests, dealing with the people can be the hardest part depending on the guest’s personality and their level of intoxication.

What do you wish you had known at the beginning of your career?

Well, I kind of walked into it with eyes open. I mean, I know what a bartender does, I got the job. Maybe started a little earlier — I was in my mid to late twenties when I started. That’s about the only thing, really.

What do you wish other people knew about your job?

A personal pet peeve of mine is when people yell drinks at me while I’m in the middle of doing something else. A good bartender has his next three or four steps planned out. But if I’m in the middle of Step 2 and you yell something at me, it’s going to throw me off of step 3 and 4 and then you’re going to get mad at me because I’m going to need to take care of 3 and 4 before I can take care of you….

What was your first job?

Not including paper routes, washing dishes in an Italian restaurant in the early ’80s … a family-owned pizza joint called the Capri. I washed dishes and did prep work there when I was like 15, 16.

What is the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever received?

… I use this all the time, especially in my bartending classes. It’s all about the dollars and cents. If you’re not making the dollars, it doesn’t make any sense.

Zachary Lewis

Five favorites
Favorite book: Dean Koontz is the author.
Favorite movie: I like old ’70s car movies, to tell you the truth. Stuff like Vanishing Point and Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry.
Favorite music: Classic rock. I have a vintage stereo system … over 600 records….
Favorite food: Probably more of a seafood person.
Favorite thing about NH: The location. Within an hour of Boston, within an hour of home, within an hour of where I grew up, within an hour of the beach, within an hour of the mountains.

Featured photo: Phil DiLorenzo. Courtesy Photo.

Treasure Hunt 24/03/28

Hello, Donna,

I have had these two candlesticks for about 45 years and have always wondered what their value may be. They are from my grandparents. I believe they are brass, and they are stamped on the bottom Tiffany Studios New York 1201. Could you give me a value on them?

Thank you.


Dear Lisa,

Beautiful set of Tiffany Studios candlesticks!

Your bronze gold dore (meaning bronze with a gold gilt/wash over them) candlesticks date to the early 1900s. They are called cat’s paw due to the streamline design ending in a paw bottom. They appear to be in great original condition.

The value on them as a pair would be in the $3,000 range to a collector. Singles sell for less each. Having both makes them more desirable.

Lisa, your grandparents left you a treasure that will do nothing but increase with time. Enjoy them!

Hope this was helpful, Jake.

Feature Photo: Tiffany candlesticks.

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