We asked, and you told. In a town that truly loves its bartenders, when we asked you, "What local restaurant/bar/store has the sexiest staff?" all but two of the top responses were your favorite bars. (You also occasionally like food to soak up the alcohol, so New Seasons made the short list, and when you're not drinking you're reading, so Powell's was another favorite). And congratulations to all our sexy winners at Tube, Powell's, New Seasons, Holocene, Doug Fir, Dante's, and—drum roll—Claudia's!
1 SW 3rd
Booze makes everyone look hotter, especially the one who's pouring it. But the staff of downtown bar and venue Dante's was voted by Portland as being particularly sexy, indicating that it's more than just beer goggles that gives these employees their sass. We spoke to Kelly Gately, barback at the esteemed establishment, to find out why Dante's is so, so sexy...
Why are you so sexy?
Well, it's not the lighting! We're kind of surrounded by people in the sex industry so we have to step up to the plate. [The owner, Frank Faillace, runs other sexy establishments like Exotic magazine, the Boom Boom Room, Devil's Point, and the Red Room]. We kind of stand out against the weak.
You know how in interviews with supermodels, people always want to be reassured that they get cellulite and zits? What about your staff might be not quite so sexy?
We don't really have physical imperfections, but we may come off as mildly snappy. But that's only because of the high volume of customers and people screaming for drinks.
What's sexy about working at Dante's?
It's like working in a strip bar without all the 60-year-old guys beating off at the rack. MARJORIE SKINNER
powells.com, multiple locations
Heralded as a major victory for book dweebs across the globe, you, Portland, have chosen the brainy staff of Powell's Books as being among the city's sexiest. What's sexier than an overflowing book bag and a knowledge of the Dewey Decimal System? Try being able to namedrop W.S. Merwin with a fancy Scottish accent. That's one of Powell's Cashiering Department Manager Martin Barrett's patented sexy moves. Let's hear how these bookworms keep their groove so buttery smooth:
How can you guys possibly keep it so sexy?
We're knowledgeable, smart, and witty. We value independence, diversity, and expression. And we try, at least, to be engaging and intuitive. We love our customer's love of books, and we value them personally because we value our business.
That's so hot. Did you guys know you were this sexy?
No. Well, secretly, maybe.
So are there Powell's groupies just hanging all over you guys when you're trying to shelve books and stuff?
I often explain to new employees that they might see themselves in "I Saw U" in the back of the Mercury.
Wow. Has that ever happened to you?
What about among the staff? Are people just hooking up left and right?
Let me just say this: A lot of relationships are formed here. CHAS BOWIE
18 NW 3rd
It's not surprising that Tube made our list of sexiest staffs. Wispy as a bowl of shwag—many with hair to match—the barkeeps at Tube have something going on. There's often something endearing about someone born in 1980 wearing a "Fernwood 2Nite" T-shirt, not to mention someone so spindly you could toss them over your shoulder. And, if the current face behind the bar doesn't do it, there's typically a live DJ in the joint worth writing home about. Owner Mikey was pleasantly surprised to hear that he and his crew were selected among the most savory in town. His first remark I took somewhat as a challenge: "You'd be hard-pressed to get any of us in the shower." He then explained, "We rarely bathe." As for undergoing specific hiring practices to amass such a snappin' staff, Mikey just hires his friends. If wiry 'n' gamey is yer bag, Tube's yer spot. In addition to getting one of their vegan appetizers, you just may get a chili dog to go. WILLIAM GARDNER
1001 SE Morrison
With its awesome projection-screen walls, slick and modern bar, and mellow, comfortable seating areas, Holocene, the venue, is about as sexy as it gets. So much so, you might overlook the staff, who are just as—if not more—sexy than the building. We went to head bartender Bridget O'Connor for details:
What's it like being part of one of Portland's sexiest staffs?
It's really encouraging because if I can't save the world, or even contribute to my community, at least I can be a part of one of Portland's sexiest staffs.
What do you, personally, do to keep sexy?
My initials are B.O., so I scrub my pits about six or seven times a day. That always keeps me above the game.
Is sexiness rad or a big burden?
You tell me, mister.
Who's sexier, Holocene or Doug Fir?
You've got to be joking. ADAM GNADE
3006 SE Hawthorne
You may consider yourself surprised, but the staff at Claudia's was among the most shocked at being elected "Sexiest Staff in Portland." Some of the employees, in fact, still aren't convinced that it wasn't all a Mercury-led hoax to award them the "Most Gullible Staff in Portland" honor. Whether some Claudia's groupies stuffed ballot boxes or whether Claudia's is one step ahead of everyone else on the succulent scale, it's true—the staff at Claudia's won a mandate. Why, though? I spoke with one of their bartenders, the goateed Eric: "There are some sexy ladies who work here. But, a lot of us are pretty laid back. Maybe that's what makes us so appealing." I asked if there was now/ever a "Claudia" to speak of. "Yep, she's the boss' mother... who's been dead for a long time now." And almost reading my mind, Eric continued, "Actually, I've seen some old photos of her and, back in the day, she was pretty sexy." WILLIAM GARDNER
(newseasonsmarket.com, various locations)
I used to think of grocery shopping as the least sexy thing ever—an experience that consisted of suffering through muzak among screaming four-year-olds and doddering gray hairs who steer their carts as if the Depends aisle is the goddamn Circus Maximus. But that was before I met Gerald, Martha, Miles, and Alaina—four of the many sexy, sexy New Seasons employees who spend their days squeezing firm honeydew melons and stroking long, thick tubes of sausage. Yes, the Official Grocery Store for Hippies™ is, surprisingly, swollen to the point of sweet release with hot employees. "My glasses get steamed up a lot," says Alaina, explaining her job in perishable groceries. Martha (who, like Miles, sexes things up behind the cheese counter) adds that "food is very primal"—referring, perhaps, to fresh, pop-able cherries, or to finely aged cheeses that demand experience and subtlety before revealing succulent delights. Gerald, who manages his store's "front end" (no word on who's taking care of business in the back), adds, "We get to know our customers," while Alaina takes it a step further: "Our customers' needs are met," she assures me. "Again and again." Yeah. Grocery shopping is awesome. ERIK HENRIKSEN
830 E Burnside
If there's anything to be learned from bartender Kara Sanborn's answers to our questions, it's that the Doug Fir is en route to taking over the scene as a fascist uber-venue. Sober, rested, and ready to co-op the sexiness of other venues, they seem to be on the verge of creating a great axis of sexiness. All hail the new regime.
Why's the Doug Fir's staff so sexy?
Our wholesome lifestyle. No drinking or partying. Early to bed, early to rise.
Who would you say is the sexiest Doug Fir employee?
Our egos are too fragile to pick just one.
Fill in the blank. I'm too sexy for my...
I'm too sexy for my work uniform.
Holocene was also nominated. Do you think their staff is all that sexy?
Yes! Those kids are hot! We want to breed with them and start a new superhuman staff.
Are having sexy employees important to running a good venue?
Yep. Rock stars don't like ugly people. ADAM GNADE