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Tips From Behind the Bar

What piece of bar etiquette do you wish people would learn?

"I know you have money. . . . Waving money at me and shouting at me doesn't get you served any faster. Also, if it takes a while to get your beer, it doesn't mean I'm slacking off. It's a busy bar. I'm the only bartender."

What's the most important thing a customer can do to guarantee a good time?

"Try new things. Have an open mind. Converse with people at the bar. Don't be so uptight, which I think is a problem in this city. And don't get too drunk."

What's a tip for making New Year's Eve memorable?

"Don't make a big deal about it. Treat it like any other night with your friends. . . . And learn the words to 'Auld Lang Syne.' "

Jimmy Cirrito

Where: Jimmy's Old Town Tavern (697 Spring St., Herndon; 703-435-5467)
When: Most nights: He hosts the bar's "JOTTeopardy" trivia game on Tuesdays and is always in the house when the Buffalo Bills or Sabres are playing.

To hear Jimmy Cirrito tell it, he was born into the bar business. "My father was a bartender, and mother was a bartender," he explains. His first job was in his cousin's bar in Upstate New York at age 15, washing dishes and cleaning tables.

Now 41, he says he has been bartending for 23 years, and for the past 10 it has been at his own cozy neighborhood tavern in Old Town Herndon. He once made it into the Guinness Book of World Records by bartending 24 hours a day for 12 days to raise money to fight muscular dystrophy. (The record has since been broken twice.) In 1994, Cirrito won the annual D.C.'s Fastest Bartender Contest.

The amount of Cirrito's charity work is impressive. He persuades bartenders to collect pledges from patrons and jump out of airplanes, hosts foosball tournaments for the Red Cross, organizes golf tournaments for local arts groups, runs mock-casino nights for the Fisher House nonprofit group, and even buys hundreds of boxes of Girl Scout cookies and sends them to American troops in Iraq. His peers have taken notice. In October, Cirrito was inducted into Bartender Magazine's Hall of Fame. Ask him to show you the ring.

A man walks into a bar but doesn't know what he wants. What do you choose?

"Beer, wine or liquor? Okay, if it's a man, I'd say a Captain Morgan and Coke. And if it's a woman, I'd say a Captain Morgan and Coke. You can't go wrong."


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