A lively chat with Kildare’s Shaun Brown about tending bar, graphic design and Savannah
How long have you been at Kildare’s? I’ve been here for six years, but I’ve been bartending overall for ten years.
Is this your career, then? I went to school to be a graphic designer, but at the moment, bartending pays a bit better than designing. I do freelance graphic design, though. In fact, I just got done redesigning the new food and drink menus here at Kildare’s.
And you were paid for that, I assume? I mean, you’re not expected to be bartender-slash-in-house-graphic designer, right? (laughing) Yes, indeed— they paid me.
Do you work days or nights? I work nights, because I have a two-year-old daughter, Blake, and I take care of her during the day.
What’s the crowd like at Kildare’s, if I can ask you to generalize a bit? I’d say between the hours of 5-10pm, it’s mostly an older crowd, and then students and a younger crowd come in as the night goes on.
I had the Irish Nachos last time I was in, and if I worked there, they’d be the death of me. Do you eat there often? Yes, and we just revamped the menu because we’re under new ownership. They’re going through and really upgrading everything, making some quality improvements.
What’s your favorite? Our blackened chicken salad. It. Is. Phenomenal. The funny thing about it is, that Cajun spice always reminds me of the south.
What’s your favorite thing about bartending, just in general? Honestly, I just love the process of doing it. I know I probably can’t or won’t do it my whole life, but right now I love doing it. I love coming in to work, and I figure if I’m having a good time, the people who are coming in here are having a good time.
Does being on your feet for such long stretches bother you, or are you still young enough to take it? Well, I’m 33. And I’m so used to being on my feet that when I go out to a bar, I actually prefer to stand.
Where did you learn to tend bar? In Savannah, Georgia. I went to school at the Savannah College of Art and Design.
Shut up – I just got back from Savannah! It’s an amazing town, and you went at the perfect time. Summer in the south is horrible—so hot and muggy, it’s ridiculous. Otherwise, though, I loved living there—it’s a great town.
So that’s where you learned both of your careers, right? Yes. The way Savannah is, everyone there is from somewhere else. So when I started tending bar, I had the honor of being trained by people from all over the country— people from New Orleans, people from Los Angeles. And even when I go out to Philly now, I like to check out a few places at a time, just to see how it’s done elsewhere.
Photo: Andrew Hutchins, Interview: Kate Chadwick