Chapter 1

The Saloon Keeper

Paul immediately applied and an interview was set up with Mr. Jack Sullivan in Boston. Paul had no idea the position he had applied for. He had worked in college bars and local haunts around Brookline while at Boston College. It turned out that Mr. Sullivan hired Paul, not because of his experience, but because he had graduated from Boston College, was 6’2” tall and weighed 220 lbs. It didn’t take long; in fact two hours into his first training shift, before everyone knew Paul did not have the credentials or the experience to be a Charley’s Saloon bartender on Newbury Street in the Back Bay of Boston.

After his first day, Jackie Sullivan, Mr. Sullivan’s son, sat down with Paul and said, “You know you do not have the experience for this position.” Reluctantly, Paul admitted he was not qualified, but Paul also knew this was the opportunity of a lifetime. He told Jackie he would do whatever it took to make the grade. Jackie gave Paul three empty liquor bottle and three pourers and said, “go home and practice your pouring.” He added, “We have a short window. and the ball is in your court.”

At the same time that Paul was mastering his bartending skills, he renewed an old relationship with Mike Stacey who was one of the premier bartenders in Boston. He was also befriended by a Boston bartending legend, Tommy Leonard of the Eliot Lounge fame.  Paul learned to be, not only a skilled bartender, but he became a member of Boston’s bartending elite in a very short time, as well. And so it started, Paul’s career in the restaurant business. At the Charley’s Saloon Group, Paul held the positions of bartender, bar manager, dining room manager, and was eventually named the first general manager for the group.