Written by Chris Boyle, firstname.lastname@example.org Saturday, 08 February 2014 00:00
For every club, restaurant, or neighborhood bar you might wander into after a long hard week, the experience just wouldn’t work without one vital piece of the puzzle—an experienced bartender slinging drinks and keeping customers happy.
However, those bartenders don’t just grow on trees; they are carefully crafted into drink-mixing machines by people such as Drew Vaughn, owner of Bartenders International of Hicksville. Opening its doors in 2002, Bartenders International specializes in both training and job placement in the industry, and has developed a reputation over the years for consistently churning out the right people for the right job.
A North Babylon native, Vaughn has a long history himself in the local bartending scene. But after nearly 20 years in the business, he decided that a change was in order.
“I bartended a long time at clubs all across Long Island and I loved doing it,” he said. “However, now I don’t want to go out until four in the morning every night. While teaching this class two nights a week, I get to meet people, have fun, make drinks, and help people find work. It was a good business opportunity.”
While Vaughn does instruct students in the fine art of mixing all manner of alcoholic concoctions, he said that Bartenders International primarily functions as a job placement association.
“It’s like a union, people join because they want to work. After all, there’s no reason to go to bartending school unless you want to get a bartending job,” Vaughn said. “People join this association and we help them to find jobs. And bars call me all the time, because I advertise to them and try to get their business.”
But before he makes a recommendation, Vaughn said that he needs to watch potential bartenders at work; how they make drinks, how they interact with customers and so on. In any given class, he will have some students working behind the bar and the rest posing as customers. He will then observe the prospective bartenders as they’re put through the paces.
“People need to come in and have at least eight hours under my supervision. Then, if they still need more time to develop, they can come in every day,” he said. “It’s like joining a gym. At a gym, you’re not paying to take an aerobics class, you’re paying to be a member of the gym. You can take as many aerobics classes as you want. It’s the same principle here, not everyone catches on right away, so they can come back in and practice as much as they want.”
Takemah Williams of Hempstead was only two hours into her first-ever class at Bartenders International, but she was already mixing drinks like a champ.
“I’ve never bartended before,” she said. “It’s easier than I thought it would be because Drew is a great teacher. He’s nice and he knows a lot.”
Shirley resident Samantha Cuomo was on her second day of classes, and considering the social aspect of bartending, she figures it’s a natural fit for her personality.
“I like talking to people and meeting new people, so I thought I’d give this a try,” she said. “Drew makes you feel very comfortable and lays everything out for you step-by-step, and goes over all the drinks from top to bottom. I would totally recommend him for anyone wanting to get into the business.”
When it comes to generating business, Vaughn said that he has developed strong word-of-mouth over the years for a simple reason— he gets results for his students and members.
“People usually have a great time here and they enjoy it. But what’s most important is that we find them work, so they recommend us to other people, and I get a lot of referrals,” he said. “Sure, we get some people with no experience at all who want to learn how to mix some drinks, but most people don’t come in here because they need a bartending school—they come in here because they need a job. And we can get them those jobs.”
Find out more about Bartenders International at www.bartendersinternational.com.
Sunday, 17 August 2014 00:00
When it comes to photography, it’s been a long road for Hicksville’s John Micheals. What started as a hobby in childhood, has now returned as an irreplaceable form of self expression.
“It’s a way of expressing myself. I’m very comfortable with it. It’s a way of expressing myself and being me without any qualifications,” he said.
Micheals’ journey in photography started with snapping pictures with a Kodak as a kid growing up in Queens. As an undergrad at City College of New York, he took art classes and his photography took a back seat as he became an art teacher. When he retired in 1996, he picked up the camera again, taking classes at Nassau Community College and getting his certificate in photography. He dropped photography again when family priorities arose, and got behind the lens again in 2009.
Saturday, 16 August 2014 00:00
Two Long Island childhood friends, Scott Reich and Michael Winik, recently left their respective careers in law and investment banking to pursue their dream of starting a business together, the online food market OurHarvest in Hicksville.
OurHarvest’s next scheduled pick-up is on Aug. 21 at Our Lady of Mercy Parish, 500 South Oyster Bay Road (last day for orders is Aug. 18). OurHarvest also has locations in New Hyde Park, Roslyn and Port Washington, with additional locations slated to open this year.
Thursday, 07 August 2014 00:00
The fields of Kevin Kolm Memorial Park were filled with nearly 200 soccer players on Saturday for the annual ‘Soccer For A Cause’ event. The event was put together by the Mastermind Unit in sponsor of the Michael Magro Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting pediatric patients with cancer and their families.
“The Mastermind Unit is a non-profit organization that was founded by a group of guys who grew up playing soccer together in Hicksville,” said co-founder Bryan Alcantara. “This is our seventh annual ‘Soccer For A Cause’ event at Memorial Park.”
Thursday, 31 July 2014 10:08
Cantiague Park Senior Men’s Golf League had its fourth tournament on Thursday, July 17. We had 34 golfers and only three who scored under 40. Low overall score was won by Charlie Hong with an impressive 34. Joe Sander scored a solid 49 and won low overall net with a 31.
Competition on the nine-hole course is divided into two divisions. Flight A is for players with a handicap of 13 or lower. Flight B is for players with a handicap of 14 or more. The league is a 100% handicap league. Any man 55 years or older is eligible for membership. We have many openings for this year, and you can sign up anytime throughout the the season. The league meets every Thursday at 7:30 a.m., but the formal tournament dates are only the first and third Thursday of the month through late October. We will have a final luncheon with prizes on our last meeting.