Bartender Slings Back 

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I'm making a mental tally of the establishments in town serving up craft cocktails — Acacia Mid-town, Amuse, Balliceaux, Belvidere at Broad, Julep's, Lemaire — and I can't think of a single humorless bartender, let alone one clad in a shiny, new vest (Punch Drunk, Food & Drink, Jan. 19). I find Jack Lauterback's reference to snobbish cocktails baffling as well. I think there is a segment of the Richmond bar scene that wants to attach this pretentious — and undeserved — imagery to these drinks and the places that serve them. Yes, we play Frank and friends during dinner service at Julep's (but definitely no Rod Stewart). I'd just like to point out that the last time I came to visit Jack at Cha Cha's, he was playing 4 Non Blondes. Take your pick, Richmond. At Julep's late-night speakeasy, the Mint, I'm throwing down the play-list gauntlet with some of the best new music around — and I know there are many satisfied customers out there who will back me up.

It's about the drinks and the vibe. Come down to the Mint and enjoy a cocktail that is the result of time, expertise and precision. When it comes to flavor, there is no such thing as snobby — it's either delicious or it's not. I won't charge you $15, I promise. You won't have to stand in line for a hastily thrown-together concoction made with the latest De Kuyper product and Aristocrat vodka. If you want a beer, by all means order one. Want a seat at the bar? No problem. We're here to provide the best drinking experience possible. After all, if you're going to pay that bar markup, why not go to a place where you're more than just a number? Why not get the best service available?

Look at the alternatives. Ladies, if your idea of a fun night out includes a half-dozen uncomfortable interludes with drunken men attempting to exchange warm shots of tequila for a little attention, then by all means skip the Mint. Gents, if you are that guy, you're not welcome. I will continue to serve up well-crafted cocktails based on the notion that there are many customers out there that want something better from Richmond's bar scene.

Oh, and Jacky, I'm wearing a T-shirt while I'm typing this. Are your panties tingling yet?

Bobby Kruger, Bar Manager
Julep's New Southern Cuisine and the Mint

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