Best of Boston

1986 BEST Bartender

Robert Gerard

The distinguishing mark of a great bartender is the ability to satisfy all of the customers all of the time—the ability to play sex therapist one minute and sports analyst the next, and to be an interested listener no matter what the bozo in front of you has to say.

Robert Gerard, a 35-year-old native of Albany, New York, who drinks Heineken but loves to mix a margarita now and then, is quite simply a master of his trade. Since moving to Boston, in 1977, Gerard has worked at the Sunflower Café, Pizzeria Uno, St. Botolph, and Allegro on Boylston. These days you’ll find him at he recently reopened 29 Newbury, which he hopes will combine the best of them all.

"St. Botolph is a neighborhood bar," he says. "It’s got a nice blend of people and a strong sense of community. Allegro is more urbane, but it doesn’t have that sense of community—at least not yet. My fantasy is that 29 will have both."

No matter what the environment, Gerard’s trade secrets are sure to stay the same. "Basically," he says, "it comes down to caring. Anyone can master the technical aspects of bartending; the hard part is helping create an atmosphere. You’ve got to be inclusive instead of exclusive. And have a good time."

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