After a long night of waiting and bussing tables, cooking meals, serving drinks, and washing dishes, most restaurant staffs are usually ready to unwind. But in a town in which the sidewalks tend to roll up after 10 or 11pm, where’s a hard-working, thirsty server supposed to go?
A regular haunt for those needing a drink and some downtime is Oakhart Social, with manager and bartender Albee Pedone manning the cocktail shaker. Pedone says Oakhart is a destination because it feels like home.
“Great products get them in the door, but ultimately it comes down to the personalities that interact with you—like Norm, walking into Cheers, and everyone saying, ‘Hey Norm!’” Pedone says. “I call one of my regulars Norm because he comes here all the time.” Oakhart’s late hours don’t hurt; the restaurant was originally open till 2am every day, though it now closes at midnight on weeknights. Pedone adds that there are many components to making a place a desirable go-to venue, including the lighting and comfortable seating, but the biggest factor is the person behind the bar. “If they’re friendly and make you feel like you’re welcome, then you’ll come back.”
Pedone should know—he’s been with Oakhart since it first opened, with brief stints elsewhere before returning. And he says he’s thrilled to get the industry folks inside most nights. He says he regularly sees friends from Tavola, Orzo, Maya, Public Fish & Oyster, The Local, Parallel 38, and Lampo, who stop by after work.
“Oakhart Social and Whiskey Jar are the after work go-tos,” says Tavola bar manager Steve Yang. “We can always see friends. We can always have a good time. And we can always wind down from a long work week on the patio (weather permitting).”