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Bartender of the month: Josh Uecker of The Blind Butcher

It wouldn't be wise to set off fireworks in The Blind Butcher while Josh Uecker is on duty
Robert Stahl

Some people plan out their careers meticulously, while others just follow their instincts. Josh Uecker is the latter kind of guy. He was 21 when he got his first taste of bar life. “I was stuck in a job doing electrical work and I suddenly realized how much I hated it,” the genteel barman recalls. “A friend of mine was working at The Quarter Bar, and he asked me to fill in one night as barback.” The effect was like a bomb going off in Josh’s life. “Man, was my mind blown! Even barbacking, it was like being on stage. I loved the fast pace and everything about it.” He grins wide and gives the tip of his mustache a twirl. “That’s when I realized there was no going back.” A decade later, Josh finds himself behind the bar at The Blind Butcher, a buzz-worthy new bar on Greenville Avenue. “What’s not to love about this place? We’ve got specialty cocktails, craft beer, and killer food. It’s the perfect trifecta.”

What’s the best part of the job?
The social interactions. Seeing somebody that’s having a bad day, and talking to them and helping them feel better. Maybe getting them to try a beer they’ve never tried. For a brief moment, you provide an escape for that person. It’s great being the frosting on top of someone’s day.

And the worst part?
Well, there are the days where you have loose cannons all around you. Like one day at this bar I used to work at, there was a guy going around on all fours smelling women’s feet. At times like that, you just have to be calm and collected and say, “Sir, you can’t go around smelling feet.” It’s also tough experiencing the dark side of human nature. Sometimes people can be a little too candid about what they’re going through or behave in ways that are ugly. I’m more of the type of person when you go out, you should have a good time. It’s crazy that some people just can’t get the hang of that.

Tell me about your first day bartending?
I was clueless about everything. I had no idea what bartending would feel like. It’s like you’re under a spotlight, and it’s so fast paced that it’s nerve wracking. You’ve got lines of people at your well and everyone expects something out of you. All that pressure, and me not knowing how to do certain things . . . Man, I hated that feeling. People would look at me and I would just feel incompetent.

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you behind the bar?
There was this anniversary party at a bar I was working at. Or maybe it was a Christmas party, I can’t remember. But I do know it was a big group of bartenders. So they decide they were going to set off firecrackers and sparklers in our bar. Like, who does that? So there’s the sound going off and there’s smoke everywhere and somehow we get them out of the bar and into to the parking lot. Thee next thing I know Dallas Police Department is knocking at the door asking for fire extinguishers because they were outside setting off more fireworks.

What’s your hangover cure?
Pedialyte. If you know you’re gonna party that night, then go to Walgreen’s and get two bottles of the stuff and chug them, then follow it up with a whole bunch of water. It’s a trick I learned from another bartender.

Tell me something about you that most people don’t know.
I don’t like my tattoos. If I had to do it all over again I would never have gotten them. You know, I got them when I was a young bartender, and back then I thought I was going to be some kind of rock star. But now I’m married and I have two kids and the tats just don’t seem very practical. I guess I’ve just grown up.

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For more info: The Blind Butcher is located in Lower Greenville at 1919 Greenville Avenue, Dallas, Texas, 75206; (214) 887-0000. Find them on Facebook.

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