Peter C. Salisbury 1:06 p.m., May 20
It's Raining (Vodka) at Nicky Rottens
Shawn Burkholder sure knows how to pour a drink.
A bunch of drinks, actually.
At the same time.
Sitting in the brand-new Nicky Rottens (104 Orange Avenue, on the corner of First in Coronado, 619.537-0280). Rottens owner Nicky Tomasello has taken over The Island Sports Bar and the corner laundromat. Actually, they’re only using the old Sports Bar part right now, and you have to be 21 because they’re still trying to get a full permit from the city, and that brings up parking.
Whatever, place is rockin’ tonight. It’s like sunset, and half the crowd is sitting outside watching San Diego across the water and going “Ooh,” and “Aah” as the highrises go golden.
Me, I’m at the farthest stool inside.
Ten TVs all around, including one that has to be five foot high and ten feet wide. Popped in because, well, it’s about the first place you come to after you get off the ferry and up onto Orange. Didn't hurt that it’s happy hour. I ordered a Yellowtail Pale Ale from Ballast Point ($3) and a plate of fried zucchini slices with cucumber wasabi (just under four bucks, and you get a whole lot of them).
Guy named Shawn -- the manager -- pours the Yellowtail. Right now it's all hands to the pump. Half dozen servers are running off their feet. Place is that crowded. Not bad for a new place.
“We’ve been open three weeks,” says Erin. “It’s been busy from the start.”
Erin brings zucchini
It may not be just because of the zucchini (though there are tons of them, and they are perfect with the yellowtail).
But because, well, you notice one thing: Shawn standing behind the bar…juggling. And not, say, swizzle sticks, but…wow! Full bottles, glasses, things that could go crash in the night. Up, around, behind him. Man's crazy-perfect.
“That’s nothing,” he says to this Scottish couple sitting next to me. And to me. And to two other guys.
“Let me offer you a drink.”
And he starts assembling one, two…eight large beakers...
...puts some upside down...
...places five glasses around the base…what the…?
Now he starts pouring raspberry vodka, lemon juice, triple sec, cranberry, and Sprite into five of them. Then he scoops them together so each is sitting in the next...
...hauls them up together overhead and…and...starts pouring.
The man fills all five glasses from on high at the same time...
...without spilling a drop.
“Been working for Nicky since Day One,” he says after we’ve all downed the drinks -- nice, fruity, strong for a boy like me. “You pick some things up along the way.”