Frank from Ten Degrees on bar-dancing and dating the customers.
121 St. Marks Pl.
What are we drinking?
The Harvest Moon. I make it strong because I don't know how to pour a weak drink.
How can you tell when people in here are on a date?
Well, we have a happy hour. People come in for three, four hours, and they start to get along. And their bill gets to be $120 dollars after ten, twelve cocktails over that time. You can see the body language progress as the inebriation gets stronger and stronger. But this is also a place for friends. So maybe they come as friends and leave as more.
Do you get regulars who come back on dates?I have one guy, this Israeli guy who comes in, he says "Frankie, buy the girl a shot and tell her it's from me."
How many girls does he bring in a week?
Oh, he'll come maybe two or three times a week.
Do you ever feel the need to tell these girls, "Hey… this guy, he comes in here a lot."
I do. But at the end of the day, if you're just looking to have some fun, I’m not going to warn you away from anyone.
Have you ever taken anyone home from here?
Yes. He was from Montreal. It was nice — great energy. But I try not to go out with people who come here. Before I started working here, I took two dates here, and I'd come here for happy hour. It was, and still is, my favorite bar. But I work here now, so that's kind of tacky.
Would you bring a date here?
I don't know. Maybe if I wanted to show him off.
Okay. Stories. What goes on in this place? Do wild, crazy things happen at Ten Degrees?
I've had people dance on the bar. I shouldn't be telling you that.
How do you feel about that? Do you let that happen?
We were about to close, it was late. That kind of thing doesn't ever happen, but the energy was special. I remember I put on my iPod.
What did you put on?
I know I put on "Teach Me How to Dougie." And this guy ripped open his shirt and started pouring hot candle wax on his chest.
What would someone have to order to impress you on a date?
I'll drink anything, really. Actually, I went out to dinner last night. It was one of those cheapie Thai places where you bring your own wine. And we got a magnum bottle of red wine, probably one of the worst types you can get, Yellowtail. And why did we get it? Because it was in the big bottle. And we were at a hole-in-the-wall Thai place.
Are there any drinks a date could order that you'd judge them for?
I have a pet peeve about people who order chocolate martinis before they have dinner. And people who order Long Island Iced Teas. Oh, Grey Goose and Red Bull. Number one, you're drinking Red Bull, which is disgusting. I know you want to get up and be pumped when you're drinking, but do you really need the best type of vodka we offer to mix with Red Bull?
So is it the combination, or just that it's such a nice vodka with a terrible drink?
The association. And there's a tendency to get fucked up. People who order a vodka Red Bull are here for a reason. The process of relaxing with someone over a nice cocktail is taken away and turned into something competitive. They just want to get wasted.
Is there anything you won't drink?
I'm an equal-opportunity drinker. I've gone to Brooklyn and gotten my can of PBR and corn-whiskey shot for $5.
What's the first alcohol you got drunk on?
I was a loser. Well, not a loser. I was a good boy who went to college and became wild. I had a ninety-eight percent GPA, and played a lot of tennis, but I didn't have a lot of friends in high school. Then I went to university and everybody was drinking beer and cheap vodka. I think I was out every single night of my freshman year, and the thing is that I was still able to function and get a 4.0. But I think the first time… it was probably beer.
Keystone? Busch Light? Where did you go to school? I think that's a big factor in what kind of beer you drink.
RIT. Rochester Institute of Technology. So probably PBR or Busch Light or something.
What would be the ideal thing to drink for your first time? Should you go with hard liquor, or keep it soft and go with beer or wine?
That's the American question — what am I going to get wasted on? If you're underage, take whatever's available, make sure you're not driving, and make sure there's someone around to look after you.
The Harvest Moon
3 oz Hennessy
1.5 ox Grand Marnier
Splash fresh lemon juice
Splash fresh orange juice
Simple syrup to taste