Mark Wagner, Bartender, Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse

I’ve been at Gibsons for 30 years now. The problem with the job is that there’s nowhere else to go — it’s like when you’re playing for the Yankees, there’s nowhere else to go. I’ve served everyone from Michael Jordan to Jack Nicholson.

Obviously, some stuff I’m told or I hear is confidential. But right after I started at Gibsons, an older gentleman, I guess you’d call him a silver fox, was sitting at the bar, and a man joins him and pulls out of his pocket a beautiful diamond ring, and they start negotiating the price. The silver fox says, “I need two of them, so you need to give me a deal.” Turns out one was for his wife, for her birthday, but in order not to make his mistress jealous, he was going to give the exact same ring to both women.

Not only does everybody know me, but pretty much everybody knows each other. That is not to say that everybody likes each other. Someone will say to me, “You see that guy over there? He’s a real asshole.” And I don’t say, “He said the exact same thing about you last week.”

I’m into introducing everybody to each other. I’ll have a CEO talking to a stripper talking to an admiral in the navy. We had a prominent banker come in, and I introduced him to this very … buxom girl named Melody. She asks, “What do you do?” and he says, “I’m a banker.” She says, “I’m a dancer.” He says, “Oh, are you with the Joffrey?” And I’ll never forget it, she looks at him in the face and she says, “What are you, a fucking farmer?” To me, a successful night isn’t about how much money I made — it’s when you look around and nobody is on their phone because they are all interacting. – As told to Anthony Todd