Best of Lawrence 2012: Best Bartender

Dave Johanning


Dave Johanning, a managing partner at Sandbar, has been bartending there going on 17 years. He helped with a few things we’ve always wondered about Sandbar but were afraid to ask.

Q: How many hurricanes have you started?

A: “That’d be hard to figure up,” Johanning says, but eight is the bar’s record for one night.

Q: Do the fish have names?

A: Yep. “We lose one every once in a while, and it’s really sad because you kind of get attached” — Homer the puffer fish was close to 18 years old when he died a couple years ago, and that was an especially sad loss.

Q: How do you get the dollar bills to stick to the ceiling?

A: “Double-stick carpet tape. … It’s not easy to get them off if you want to move them, either.”

Q: What’s your favorite drink toy?

A: Johanning likes the shutter-shades and the moustaches: “And to see what people do with the moustaches is even funnier.”

Q: Do you ever get tired of Jimmy Buffett?

A: Not really. At some point, the music “just kind of all runs together.”

Q: What’s your favorite thing about bartending at Sandbar?

A: “What keeps me doing what I’m doing is meeting new people. We’re very fortunate to be in Lawrence and have the university here where we have new people turning 21 every day. It really brings life to this town, and it brings life to my business.”

Runners up

l Chris Neverve, Red Lyon, 944 Mass.

l Frank Dorsey, Frank’s North Star Tavern, 508 Locust St.


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