We’re kicking off this week with a new column combining the playlists from our music section with features on some of our favorite community members: bartenders! Always patient and usually kind, they’re the ones curating your dining or drinking experience, whether it’s a weekday brunch or saturday night out. This week we’ve got an interview and Spotify playlist from Laura Regan, bartender at Bushwick’s 983 (Formerly Life Café). On her playlist are many gems, including Brian Jonestown Massacre, Sonic Youth, Portishead,Frank Ocean and a lil TLC!
983 is a cozy establishment-one of our faves in the neighborhood- featuring American bistro food with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options a’plenty. They have a broad drink menu, some sweet happy hours and drink specials, movie nights, and they also have a delicious brunch.
Meet Laura! Laura uses the airwaves during her shifts to find playlists that play to the moods of her staff, the type of day, and the customers at the restaurant. “Different shifts require different moods, I generally try to pick something that fits everyone’s tastes” she says. Laura’s Playlist includes song for a little bit of everything type of shift, including top picks for a Friday night, Monday night, and of course, Brunch.
Laura is a musician, avid music listener, and a huge proponent of local music. She loves to play Brooklyn bands on her playlists as well as try to fit the playlist to a variety of factors. “The time of day has a lot to do with it….Whether it’s a rainy day or really nice day, that [also] effects how I choose my playlist.” The music has to be able to express an air of the bar, to give the bartenders something fun to listen to while they work, and thus make happy customers!
BD: How did you get into bartending?
Laura: I graduated from music school and wanted a flexible schedule so I started looking for a bartending job. I was 22 and I’d never poured a drink in my life, I walked into an Irish pub in Boston. On my first shift the owner went to walk out the door, and I said “I don’t know what to do,” and he said, “Sink or swim, love.” I guess I didn’t sink.
BD: What do you do outside of bartending?
Laura: I am a musician. I have a band called HAWT ME$$, and I’ve been in other projects. I’ve dabbled in freelance booking and music business oriented endeavors, but ultimately I think I want to own my own music venue. Hence the bartending and how that will play out in my future.
BD: What is the ultimate bar song? Is there an ultimate bar song?
Laura: Right now my ultimate bar playlist would be anything based off of Brian Jonestown Massacre.
BD: Does your music change every depending on the crowd?
Laura: Sometimes, since I’m in Bushwick, I don’t have to cater to the crowd very often, it’s usually pretty similar to what I’m playing anyway and there have been times when small children come in and I might take off Brian Jonestown Massacre and play Elizabeth and the Catapult, something more upbeat.
Friday Picks: 90’s Rules
Sonic Youth- “Anti-Orgasm”
Brian Jonestown Massacre – “Vacuum Boots” (or all of Tepid Peppermint Wonderland)
Pavement – “Gold Sounds”
Sonic Youth – “Kool Thing”
Soundgarden – “The Day I Tried to Live”
Monday night: Bringing Sexy Back
Bad Books – “It Never Stops”
Martha Wainwright – “Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole”
Portishead – “Roads”
Marissa Nadler – “The Sun Always Reminds Me Of You”
Elizabeth and the Catapult – “Happy Pop”
Brunch: All about the hits. “The more nostalgia and sing alongs the better.”
The Cardigans – “Love Fool”
The Cranberries – “Linger”
TLC – “No Scrubs”
Frank Ocean – “Pyramid”
Semisonic – “Closing Time”
So there you have it: our first Bartender Playlist. Feel free to follow it on Spotify for a versatile collection of songs that’ll get you through your shift. Say Hi to Laura next time you’re at 983, and if you’re digging the music, maybe pay her a compliment (or tip)!