< Back to Oral History project: Bartenders of New Orleans
The Columns Hotel
“Big Mike,” as he’s known to his customers, is a celebrity in New Orleans. Voted Best Bartender five years in a row, he knows how to keep people happy. Today, he’s a fixture at The Columns Hotel, but he got his start in bartending by accident. After working room service at a local hotel, he was recruited to work at The Columns as a bar-back and quickly climbed the ranks. It was trial by fire at first, but soon Big Mike had the recipes down — both recipes for the drinks, and the recipe for giving 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 on your first visit, pleasing people is his game. 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.