Bartender Tales: The Barrelman

Marblehead’s Nick Venezia pours his favorite drink, a shot of bourbon, while bartending at The Barrelman. Photo by Libby O'Neill

Nick Venezia has been working at The Barrelman, 259 Washington St., since the beginning phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time they were surviving customers through the back door. While this was a frustrating time for many people with lives put on hold, Venezia looks at it differently.

“It actually got me through a very difficult point in my life to where I am now, which is not much better off but way better than before,” he said while wiping down the counter of the bar Tuesday evening.

When asked to make his favorite drink he grabbed a bottle of bourbon and poured a shot.

“It gets to the point quickest,” he said as to why a shot of bourbon is his favorite drink.

He’s been bartending off and on for a decade, first starting at The Barnacle. With 10 years under his belt, he has many stories from his time behind the bar.

“I got to spray a lady in the face with a Coca Cola gun … She refused to leave, she was calling me bad names, she was throwing dollar bills at me like I was someone who earned dollar bills by being back here,” Venezia said.

When she wouldn’t leave he said he would call the police.

“She then told me what ‘I’ll tell them you overserved me,’ and I said ‘you’re gonna get in trouble because you have rum and coke all in your hair’ and then she didn’t believe me and I took out the soda gun, put my finger over it and sprayed,” Venezia said.

While he has had to deal with difficult customers like that one he still said the best part of bartending is talking to the customers.

“It’s like you’re going out every night of the week without actually having to go out and spend money, you’re actually making it,” Venezia said.

He has many regulars that come into The Barrelman. When asked to hear more about what he calls the “best” regulars, he hesitated.

“I’m not sure if they want that information divulged. I think you go to a bar to have some kind of confessional with your priest of sorts so I feel like I would violate my attorney- client privilege,” Venezia said.

So if you need someone to tell your secrets to Venezia at The Barrelman can be that someone for you. Your secrets are safe with him.