Mixologist: Ray Valentine of Gooseneck Tavern

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Hometown: Akron

Years behind the bar: 1

What does it take to be a good bartender?

Have fun doing your job. If you're miserable, it's going to show and people are going to be miserable.

I treat everybody like they're family rather than customers. I come from a big family so I'm used to serving everybody.

What would you be doing if you weren't bartending?

I don't know. I don't think I'd be a good desk person, stuck in a box all day. Maybe coaching, because I like kids and I like sports.

Do you play any sports?

I play basketball, baseball every once in a while, and a little flag football. With basketball I play in a league. It was always my first love. I still want to go to the NBA. It's still my dream [laughs].

What are your favorite teams?

Of course, the Buckeyes. I'm a big Volunteers fan because I've got a bunch of family from Tennessee. In 2018, Ohio State plays Tennessee in football. That's going to be a big deal.

I like the Yankees, Lakers and Cavs. LeBron is from Akron so I've got to root for him. He actually grew up right down the street from me. We all played on the same courts and everything. He would've gone to my high school, but our varsity coach wouldn't start a freshman on his team. He got fired.

What else do you like to do when you're not working?

Video games - "Halo," "Call of Duty," "God of War." I also try to hang out with my family as much as I can because everybody is so spread out. I've got family in Akron, Louisville, Tennessee, so I like to travel and see everything.

Have you been on any good trips recently?

I went to the Grammys a couple years ago. One of my regulars got me tickets. We got backstage passes, so I got to meet everybody.

Everybody is so short - they look so big on TV. Some of those starlets would be nothing without those 10-inch heels on. Carrie Underwood has got to be, like, four-foot-10! She's just a little thing. She's sexy as hell, but she's just so little.

Is there a Columbus bartender you'd like to meet in Mixologist? E-mail jtigges@columbusalive.com