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Tales From The Bar with Tim Burkowske



If there is one profession that places its workers in ringside seats to the world, it’s the men and women who tend bars.
Much like psychiatrists, bartenders stand witness of a host of human behaviors, and they’re adept at listening to people with stories to tell. The only difference is that pulling the ear of a bartender is free, except for the money spent on whatever libations they sling.
We reached out to a handful of esteemed bartenders throughout San Diego to ask what customer interactions remain forever etched in their minds.
What we heard were narratives ranging from good to bad to comical and racy. We also gave them a opportunity to share with us their signature cocktails or latest and greatest concoctions.

About a year ago, Tim Burkowske witnessed a chain-reaction phenomenon among his patrons on a busy Sunday afternoon shift. One of his best friends—a regular at CJ’s—has a tendency to take off his shirt after throwing down a few drinks. When he did so on this particular day, it unexpectedly prompted “a baker’s dozen” other male customers to do the same.
“It wasn’t a sexual thing—just a fun occurrence,” Burkowske said. As a result, customers in the know at CJ’s refer to the day of the week as “shirtless Sundays.”
Signature cocktails: Burkowske likes making sazeracs or negronis in their most classic forms. “I’m a traditionalist at heart and keep things how they’re supposed to be made.”


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