Dano ("everybody just knows me as Dano") tends bar twice a week at the Skylark in Pilsen.
You're known for dressing up in a vest and tie when you work on Friday nights. How did that start?
I met a bartender at Club Lucky named Rick. Quite honestly, I stole his style. He was a classic bartender: white shirt, great tie. I took that idea and went more the art deco route. I walked in here on opening night three years ago with a vest and a tie, and that's where it all started. I also bartend at a lovely restaurant called Naha, very fine dining. I dress better here than I do there.
What's the response been like?
Most people say, "Wow, what are you so dressed up for?" I'm like, well, you're spending your hard-earned money to get a beer, I should present it to you in more than a ripped-up Ramones T-shirt. Not that there's anything wrong with that. When I first started, people didn't know what to think of me--they weren't sure if I was trying to work some sort of angle. But now if I come in and I'm not dressed in a tie and vest, it's like, "What's the problem? Why aren't you dressed up?"
Where do you shop?
Thrift stores. You find ties for a buck and a half or two bucks and buy 30 dollars' worth. The first year or two, I never wore the same tie twice. I spend more on dry cleaning than I do on the actual clothes--you're spilling beer and crap all over them.
Has your work style affected your personal style at all?
I'm actually totally into shoes, which nobody gets to see because I'm behind the bar. I'm really into Italians. The square toes were in for a while, now those are gone. I wear loafers all the time. I find myself spending more on shoes the last couple years than I did in the ten before that.
Do you think of yourself as a trendsetter?
I've never claimed to be on the leading edge of anything, but I have noticed a lot of people wearing vests lately. Am I way ahead of the trend or way behind it? It doesn't matter either way--it's all giggles.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jim Newberry.