May 28th, 2007

Dave Cagle

Cousin Dave Cagle

Bartender profile
Dave Cagle’s tatoo-covered forearms, reticent demeanor and loosely tied black apron may lead the newcomer to think, ‘Uh-oh, I’m not going to get any service from this guy until I go out and get my lip pierced or punch someone in the face.’ But then Dave comes over, politely takes your drink order and mixes up your cocktail without a word or gesture wasted. As you sip your excellent drink, you realize your trepidation was unwarranted. Later, you notice the way he cracks a smile only when genuinely amused, and the calm way he spots you among a crowd as you signal for “one more” — and you find yourself wanting to be a regular member of this guy’s laid-back scene.

Seven years ago, “Cousin” Dave, as he is known, came to town from North Carolina to see the Queers at T.T. the Bears. He and his cousin (the two called one another Cousin while growing up in Fayetteville, Arkansas) had drinks at the B-Side afterward. Dave liked the place — and the Boston-area music scene — so much he moved to Cambridge and started working at the neighborhood-hipster lounge. The only things he misses about the South, he says, are “fishing and people being nice. Southern boys are polite.”

On Thursday nights, Dave brings his southern hospitality to Allston during his shift at the beer and cocktail bar Deep Ellum. Besides B-Side, this is the perfect place for Dave — he likes his bourbon, and whiskey is the unofficial house spirit here.

Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Past bartending jobs
JR’s Lightbulb Club – Fayetteville, Arkansas; The Icehouse, Charlie Browns – Wilmington, NC.

First drink you ever had
A 40 of Old English “800.”

Favorite bar in Boston other than your own
TC’s Lounge.

The drink you most like to make
Old Fashioned.

The drink you least like to make
Anything pink.

What you drink at the end of your shift
Budweiser and bourbon.

If you weren’t a bartender, you’d be…
A hitman.

A bartender’s best friend is…
The barback.

A bartender’s worst enemy is…
Fruit flies.

People drink too much…
Light beer.

People don’t drink enough…

Drink for a hot summer day
Mint Julep.

Drink for a cold winter night
Glass of bourbon.

The best thing about drinking in Boston
There are a good number of great bartenders in this town, so tracking down a well made drink isn’t as tough as it might be in other places.

The worst thing about drinking in Boston
The hangover.

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3 Responses to “Dave Cagle”

  1. MC Slim JB

    Thanks for the very well-done profile of a worthy, overlooked local artisan of the shaker. A sneaky-good barman, a solid hospitality pro. I’ll take one of these underrated craftsmen over 50 glossier but less talented “Best Bartenders in Boston” types. Next time I’m in The B-Side, I’ll mind my manners, too.

  2. Michael Dietsch

    We’ve got some great bars in NYC, but you’re really making me wish I were in Boston.

  3. ljclark

    Cool, C’mon up, Michael! Nice blog, by the way.

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