Michael Smith

The Columns Hotel
3811 St. Charles Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70115
(504) 899-9308

“Big Mike,” as he’s known to his customers, is a celebrity in New Orleans. Voted Best Bartender five years in a row, this guy knows how to keep the people happy. Today, he’s a fixture at The Columns Hotel, but he got his start in bartending by accident. After some time working in room service at alocal hotel, he was recruited to work at The Columns as a bar-back and quickly made his way up through the ranks. It was trial by fire at first, but soon Big Mike had the recipes down—recipes for the drinks and the recipe for giving the people what they want. Behind the bar, Mike is an entertainer. Whether it’s singing a song, doing a little dance, or just making you feel like you’ve been a regular when it’s your first visit, pleasing people is the name of the game. So if you come to The Columns thirsty, he’ll make anything you like. But Mike says that anyone can make a drink; his talent is dealing with people. One visit, and you’ll be convinced.

Date of interview:

March 31, 2005


Amy Evans

The Column Hotel - Michael Smith - Bartenders of New Orleans
A customer will never know I’ve got a problem [when I’m] back here. At home or wherever. Because my job is to make them happy. See they—they deal with people all day on their jobs. They got problems, issues. They come in here, they ain’t looking to hear my problems…I’m trying to make you feel better!

Explore Media