EW's Sexiest Bartenders of 2006
by Tim O'Rourke
We'll admit it. This year, we were late getting the word on the street about our Eugene's Sexiest Bartender contest. Instead of flooding the airwaves with radio ads and clogging up a month's worth of issues with print ads, we decided to send out a team of guerilla marketers (read: powerless interns) to slather the city with fliers hyping a contest that measures pure, unadulterated sexiness.
The response, to say the least, was surprising. We received more than three times as many votes as last year in a quarter of the time. A majority of the bars in town were represented; while some had some fun at our expense (e.g. Mike Hunt seems to be a popular name around town).
But here, without further ado, are Eugene's Sexiest Bartenders: Jeb Wilhelm of Diablo's Downtown Lounge and Kisha Pruitt of Eugene City Brewery. We're getting hot just thinking of them shaking up our round of Red-Headed Sluts.
Jeb Wilhelm is the resident piece of man-meat at Diablo's Downtown Lounge, although he would prefer to be called a piece of ass. "It just sounds a bit more fun," he says. His patrons voted in droves, saying things like, "Mmm … enough said," "If I were a chick I'd be all over this guy!" and even "He reminds me of Chuck Norris." EW had to see what the fuss was all about.
How long have you been tending bar at Diablo's?
Two and a half years. I started as a cook. But they saw quickly I had no skills doing that. Instead of firing me, they moved me.
Do you make any special drinks?
I have five or six drinks that are my own recipe: the Russian Peach, the Russian Tea Room, the Walker, Texas Tea…
Wait … what's that?
The Walker, Texas Tea is bourbon, sour mix and Coke. We have Chuck Norris Wednesdays where we'll play movies … of the Chuck Norris variety … and spout off stupid facts.
Any favorite local drunkards?
My personal favorites are the young drunk girls. You'd think they'd be easier to get out of the bar than a 230-pound guy, but what do you do when they start swinging? About a month and a half ago a drunk girl kicked me square in the nuts, for no real reason.
Any outlandish or nasty tips that stick out in your mind?
Last night we got a penny on an $11 tab. That was pretty nasty. I got $100 from a woman who came in from the bus station. She had never played video poker before, and left her ticket with me, then didn't pay for her drink. The ticket was for like $110, $112.
What's your most memorable pick-up line?
My favorite is when a guy asked me if I wanted to be at a gay bar, in that special way, with that special look. With the girls, it's the "I bet I can drink more than you" game. They don't win.
Any super-saucy moves behind the bar?
Definitely not. The last time I tried that I broke a glass, cut my hand and was out of work for awhile.
Are you more like Tom Cruise in Cocktail or Ted Danson in "Cheers"?
A little bit of both. I'm not as big of a schmuck as Tom Cruise in Cocktail, but I like to have fun at work like he did.
If you weren't you, would you come on to yourself?
Oh yeah! My beer belly is probably my best feature.
What's the sexiest part of your job?
Probably when I have to clean up vomit in the ladies room.
If Kisha Pruitt is one thing, it's sexy. If she's another thing, it's boisterous. In an interview with EW just hours after having her purse, phone and credit cards stolen, Pruitt was making jokes, complimenting her "honky-tonk badonkadonk" and waiting to crack open a Bud Light. Pruitt edged out Allison Crispen of Diablo's Downtown Lounge to be crowned Eugene's Sexiest Bartender, sans jeweled crown and ceremony.
How'd you get your job tending bar at Eugene City Brewery?
Well, I tell people I'm a bartender because I tend to be at bars. But, actually, I moved from Chico to New Orleans in July, and then Hurricane Katrina kicked me out … to Eugene.
Consider any drinks your specialty?
Bloody Marys. When I was making my last Bloody Mary I cut myself, so it was literally a Bloody Mary.
What's your day job?
I'm a dental assistant. At the bar, I'm like, "Drink this, then come see me once it rots away your teeth."
What's your drink of choice?
Bud Light and tequila. I just bought a 12-pack of cans. That's what happens when your purse gets stolen.
Any significant other?
Yes. Matthew McConaughey … I'm actually single.
Any favorite drunkard stories?
There's my joke: "You know you're a Redneck if you use a .22 caliber rifle as a pool cue." Yeah, I saw that one in Chico.
Anyone ever make a creepy pass at you?
When I was working at the Seafood and Wine Festival in Newport a group of four women offered my boss $20 an hour to let me off so I could hang out with them. They wanted me to go back to their hotel so they could do bad things to me.
Why work at a bar?
I'm a very social person. Bullshitting just comes naturally to me.
How do you spruce yourself up for work?
I go home to change between jobs. I put on black pants … well, it's really that I have a great ass [laughs]. We call it the honky-tonk badonkadonk. My ass has gotten me where I am today.
Ever get sexified at work?
I'm not sure what that means. [Ed.'s note: Neither are we.] But I do molest all my co-workers.
What celebrity do you resemble?
[Consults co-workers for three minutes.] I can't really be classified. But if I had to I'd say a bit of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, from the movie. There's a little bit of Dave Chappelle — my wit; my charm. And maybe a bit of Jessica Alba. [Argues with co-workers about her own voluptuousness.]
What's the best night to come see you at ECB?
Friday night is Trivia Night with Mr. Bill. It's a lot of fun. You get smarter the more you drink.