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Bartending is a true labor of love
Johnny Coenenberg opens a drink for a customer at Tommy’s Beach Bar and Grill. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
It might seem like a glamorous job to those who walk through the front door and grab a seat at the booth.

But behind the bar at Tommy’s Beach Bar and Grill, bartender Johnny Coenenberg is almost always doing something – remembering a customer’s drink order, pouring a tray for servers that have full tables, and making trips back and forth to the kitchen to check on the orders of his customers at the bar.

While the conversation is stimulating (it’s what he considers the best part of the job) the tasks he’s charged with covering makes each and every shift a virtual sprint – especially on busy weekend nights when football games bring in the crowds.

Regardless of how hard he might be working, you’d he hard pressed to find anything but a smile on  Coenenberg’s face.

“Sometimes you’re going a mile-a-minute and you’ve got more to do than you can possibly handle,” he said. “But that sort of makes it fun, and you get the chance to really know who you’re working with and what the job is all about.”

It’s the people on the other side of the bar, however, that keep him standing on the plastic grate that catches the water behind the constantly wet bar area.

Sometimes it’s just a guy grabbing a beer before heading home after work. Other times it’s the groupof regulars that make each and every shift seem like they’re over before they even begin.

“You get the chance to banter back and forth, and that really makes it fun – especially when things slow down and it’s just you and the people that you know,” Coenenberg said. “But even when it’s slammed and you’re running ragged, I love it – it’s unlike a lot of other jobs out there, and it’s a lot of fun.”

And things aren’t going to let up for him tonight when the bar shows the UFC Card featuring Randy Couture and Antonio Nogueira with no cover charge – meaning that both the bar itself and the bar tables are likely going to be crammed full of hungry UFC fans looking forward to the action.

Tommy’s Beach Bar and Grill is located at 1351 W. Yosemite Ave. The UFC card begins at 7 p.m. For more information, call the restaurant at 823-1961.