Bartender Q&A: Charles Steadman of Lantana Jacks on Scotch and Milk, Goldfish, and Thomas Keller

Not everyone can make it in the hospitality industry. Whether it's lack of patience or lack of people skills, a lot of people just can't cut the mustard. 

For those who can, there are some words on a resume that mean you've made it big. The Breakers in Palm Beach is one. Charles Steadman of Lantana Jacks Bar and Grill has a hospitality resume that screams experience. An alumnus of spots ranging from the Breakers and the Waldorf Astoria to Buffalo Wild Wings and Olive Garden, this guy most definitely knows his stuff. Clean Plate Charlie decided to have a chat with the well-rounded restaurant partner and tender of bar.

See Also:

Clean Plate Charlies: Hometown/ High School?
Steadman: Born in Los Angeles. Lived in Chicago. Got smart and moved to South Florida 13 years ago.

How long have you been in the industry?
18 years

I knew I wanted to be a bartender when _______.
I realized the mix of social interaction, creativity, discipline and poise it takes to be a successful one.

Favorite drink to make?
The one you completely enjoy.

Least favorite drink to make?
There is value in every cocktail experience.

Strangest drink requested?
Blended Scotch and milk. Turned out the patron who ordered it had an ulcer, but an even bigger vice for scotch.

What's your favorite spirit?
I'm an equal opportunity drinker.

What's your favorite thing to drink after work?
Classic gin martini extremely wet (lots of vermouth) with a dash of orange bitters. Also, a nicely aged rum over ice hits the spot some nights.

What is your favorite place to drink after work?
I have an amazing home bar.

What's the best pick-up line you've heard at the bar?
Guy walks up to the bar. Girl next to him asks him if he would like a shot. He responds, "I'm sorry but I have a girlfriend." She says, "Well, I have a goldfish." Quizzically, he says, "What does that mean?" She goes, "I'm sorry I thought we were talking about things that don't matter." He took the shot. 

The worst?
Great legs. What time do they open?

If someone comes in and orders a ______, you instantly think ______ about them.
I don't have an Honorable in front of my name. I try not to judge.

Biggest pet-peeve while working?
Not being set up for success.

Who is your favorite local bartender? Any why?
Every one that is passionate about what they do.

If I wasn't a bartender, I would be ______.
Missing out.

Favorite kind of bar customer?
Respectful ones.

Least favorite kind of bar customer?
Disrespectful ones.

If you could make a drink for anyone, who would it be? And which drink do you think would suit them?
Thomas Keller. A unique, sous vide infused cocktail based on his favorite color, favorite fruit, favorite spirit and favorite childhood memory. 

Favorite thing about bartending?
You hear a lot of interesting things and meet a lot of good people. Also, the opportunity to create some interesting drinks. People have a higher expectation when they go out, and I like the challenge in being able to be able to give that to them.

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Sara Ventiera