SEXIEST DRINK SLINGERS IN EUGENE by Adrienne van der Valk
When I called Café Soriah to tell Aaron Hopps he was Eugene’s Sexiest (male) Bartender, the person who answered the phone claimed he didn’t work there. Obviously, Hopps’ coworkers are jealous of his staggering sexiness. The veteran mixologist has haunted such classy joints as the late Mona Lizza and the ever popular Red Agave and now shakes his money maker exclusively at Café Soriah. We sat down to discuss his cult status over Dixie cups of water with very large straws.
Do you have any special drinks or bar tricks?
When I worked at Mona Lizza we did “flair” bartending: flipped bottles and lit things — including ourselves — on fire. The flair stuff has its place but I think it happens when bartenders get bored and become pyros. I lost an eyebrow that way.
Are you more Tom Cruise from Cocktail or Ted Danson from Cheers?
Oh, man. Help me think of other bartenders. Moe from The Simpsons? When I first started bartending, I guess I was more Tom Cruise, but the association really creeps me out.
So, maybe if Ted Danson and Tom Cruise had a baby, you would be that baby?
I think that’s against Scientology.
What is the sexiest part of your job?
We’re given such freedom at Soriah. I’m the DJ, the bouncer, the therapist, the greeter. When you step in there it’s like you’re stepping into my bedroom. I can judge the crowd and set the mood, the lighting, the candles. It becomes my space.
What is your sexiest feature?
Um, I don’t know. Can I read the comments people wrote? Hmmm. I guess I put the “man” in Manhattan. And my wit is dryer than my martinis.
What is the scariest pickup you ever witnessed?
I saw a guy roofie a girl’s drink right in from of me, kicked him out and then restrained the other customers from beating the shit out of him. I’ve literally heard, “Nice shoes. Wanna fuck?”
Does that work?
No. I’m so trained to see and hear everything that sometimes I wish I could just cover my eyes and go deaf. People start drinking and they think they’re whispering. I’ll slip something they say in the conversation ten minutes later and they think I’m clairvoyant.
Do people really throw drinks on other people or does that just happen in movies?
I’ve seen it maybe three times.
Your landslide victory has stirred rumors of election fraud. Who is your Karl Rove?
Who’s Karl Rove?
I’m not claiming any Karl Rove. Well, I guess my Karl Rove would be MySpace. I had friends in 13 countries voting for me via the Internet.
Do you think classy drunks are better than cheap drunks?
I think they both have their virtues. I enjoy going to dive bars. I’ve had a lot of fun with drunks at dive bars. They’re more in the moment. People go just to drink, to drink without purpose, to drink with abandon.
Do you think you’re better than other people because you work at Soriah?
Yeah, I think I’m better than about five people but I’d rather not name them.
Have you ever used your bartending identity in the service of evil?
I 86’d my friend’s evil ex-girlfriend once for no real reason other than she was evil. Then there was that one night … we all swore we’d never talk about that.
What’s the craziest thing that ever happened to you bartending?
Opening the door to the bathroom at Soriah and finding two people going at it on the sink … twice! I think my mistake was not kicking them out the first time. Oh, and I dropped a cup of soup on a baby’s head once. That was sexy!
SEXIEST DRINK SLINGERS IN EUGENE by Nicole Fancher
Two years ago, the Black Forest’s owner, Mike Neria, won Sexiest Bartender in a computer-at-the-bar fueled landslide. This year, the bar was voted Best Place to Do Karaoke in the Best of Eugene poll. Now, Mac Goodwin is the sexiest shaker-wielding chica in town. “What can I say?” she says. “We’re a sexy, sexy bar!” Mac makes sexy look simple, but not just because this girl knows how to wear a V-neck. Her genuine care for her customers and her all-out enthusiasm at work made EW’s little heart melt for this first-rate hottie.
How did you come to work at the Black Forest?
I came back [to Eugene] for an extended vacation and just never went back … I also met my boyfriend. So I worked a couple of different places for a few months. But I’ve had three birthdays at the Black Forest, and I like their karaoke night, so I thought this would be a fun place to work. I actually applied three or four times! I got a job somewhere else, then one day, they called. So, I quit.
Got a day job?
This is my full-time job.
How did you become a bartender?
By mistake. I didn’t go to bartending school or anything. I just liked to go out to clubs. I moved to L.A. when I was 22 and this was the first job I got. It was weird at first, but now, I’m like, ‘I’m never gonna stop doing this!’ I had never had a job before where you’re meeting new people every single day.
What’s your drink specialty?
Some people have children; I create drinks. One is called “I Used to Love Her But I Had to Kill Her,” after the Guns N’ Roses song. It’s a shot of Pink Pussy, and you drop it in Guinness, and it ends up tasting like a strawberry milkshake. We had a Valentine’s Day night at the bar called “Fuck V-Day,” and the girls loved that one. The main thing I do is every Friday, I bring in bags of fresh fruit — strawberries, blueberries, all organic — and I make them into drinks for people.
Any particularly horrific drunkard stories?
The best part about where I work is that we have a taser behind the bar. It looks like a cattle prod. [Laughs]. It’s not like a police taser or anything. It’s really more of a joke. Actually, it’s not too bad where I work. In L.A., that was another story…
Best pick-up line?
This one’s pretty bad: “Is that a keg in your pants? Because I want to tap that ass.” Well, at least it was memorable.
Ever go on a date with any customers?
Not here. In L.A. I did, and that was a big mistake. There are two things I will never do: date a coworker or go out with a customer. Except … well, my boyfriend — who’s also a bartender — used to come into the Black Forest to hang out. So I guess we both broke our own rule.
OK, on to sexiness … what is your sexiest physical attribute?
I would like to think it’s my dry wit, but I doubt that’s why people voted for me. It’s probably because I wear low-cut shirts.
What do you do to get sexy for work?
I really do take pride in my appearance. That’s probably one valuable lesson I learned in L.A. You’re representing a company that takes pride in customer service. I go overboard with my outfits. I dress up for all the holidays. For Christmas, I wore big poinsettas in my hair.
Do you flirt with customers for better tips?
No, I usually just joke around. Laying on the flirt really just ends up being a negative thing. It’s just a way to alienate customers.
What’s the sexiest part about bartending?
Well, for what’s sexy to customers … all the customers are drinking, and you’re the only person sober. If you don’t have a few marriage proposals at the end of the night, people aren’t having a good enough time.