Favorite Male Bartender
Happy Hours have never been happier at Buddy’s in Montrose since Matthew Friar started serving up drinks there last August. This is the third time Friar, who is gay, has been recognized by OutSmart readers for his behind-the-bar talents.
This year’s Gayest & Greatest Favorite Male Bartender insists that mixing with the customers while mixing drinks is his favorite part of the job. “I typically work Happy Hours Monday through Friday, from 4 to 9. Happy Hours are a little calmer. I like the middle-of-the-day regulars and the post-work crowd. I like to get to know them and ask them how their families are doing, and having those relationships.”
Recently Friar started picking up shifts on Saturday nights, when he can enjoy helping people come in and celebrate and keep the party going. His specialty shot/drink is the Liquid Marijuana—which, of course, he makes with only legally sanctioned ingredients.
“It’s equal parts Captain Morgan, Malibu, and Midori topped off with pineapple, sweet and sour, and a splash of Blue Curacao. It’s a sweet rum drink, but it goes over nicely on hot days,” says Friar.
The Georgia native has lived a majority of his life in Dallas, Houston, and even Puerto Rico. He did a work-from-home job on the island before moving to Houston in 2014.
“Waking up on the beach is great for a while, but I missed being social. I wanted to be able to go out with friends and see the town. I missed interacting with people on a regular basis,” he admits.
COVID-19 was particularly challenging for the service industry, and Friar had a difficult time interacting with guests in the way that he was accustomed to. “Learning how to be friendly while having to be socially distant and respectful was difficult,” he notes. “We used to hug and kiss on the cheek, so I had to figure out how to portray my personality and love without overstepping those boundaries.”
With the emergence of the delta variant, Buddy’s has proactively reimposed some of those COVID protocols while the world continues to deal with the pandemic. But Friar has easily jumped back into those old safety routines. “I always try to put on a happy face and be a good bartender for my clients. I am glad that my customers appreciate it, and have given me this OutSmart honor,” says Friar.
For more info, visit buddys.bar.
DRINKS & SPIRITS
Club or Restaurant with The Best Happy Hour
Finalists: BUDDY’S, JR’s Bar & Grill, Max’s Wine Dive, ReBar
Club or Restaurant with the Best Margarita
Gloria’s Latin Cuisine
Finalists: El Tiempo Cantina, Eagle Houston, La Tapatia
Club or Restaurant with the Best Martini
Finalists: BUDDY’S, Eagle Houston, JR’s Bar & Grill, Michael’s Outpost, ReBar
Favorite Local Brand of Craft Beer, Cider, or Seltzer
Finalists: Houston Cider Co., Karbach Brewing, St. Arnold’s Brewing Co.
Favorite National Brand of Beer, Cider, or Seltzer
Finalists: Dos Equis, Guinness, Heineken, Miller Lite, Modelo
Favorite Female Bartender
Finalists: Kristina Prats, Lareyna Rodriguez
Favorite Male Bartender
Finalists: Michael Booth, Eric Ervin, Charles Garibay, Bryan Wade, Travis Webb
Favorite Nonbinary Bartender
Finalists: Piero Arevalo, Andrew Nagler, Charlotte Shottgun
Favorite Brand of Liquor
Finalists: Buffalo Trace, Deep Eddy Vodka, Dripping Springs Vodka, NEFT Vodka, Tito’s Vodka
For a full list of winners, go here.
This article appears in the October 2021 edition of OutSmart magazine.