To help you get to know him better, Dan Conway, regional representative for Left Hand Brewing, chose to visit some of his favorite bars with 10th St. Foodery beer manager, Jake Dean. In what has become a reoccurring theme with this column, this quickly stopped being a traditional interview, as Dan split most of the time between interviewing himself or anyone he ran into.
Stop 1: Khyber Pass Pub
Dan: Do you have anything want to ask me?
Jake: Not at the moment.
J: How many orange hats do you have?
D: Roughly, I’d say about five strong right now, but four of them were gifts. I only bought one. It was like this trucker’s cap. Guess it was back in 2009, when I first got the gig, I was going around in a lot of different areas all over the place. Especially places like Manhattan, you only get five minutes or so, so I figured the one way I’m going to stick out is if I rock hunter orange in Manhattan, because no one rocks orange. It just worked out really well because everyone was like, ‘Oh, yeah, I met Dan, the guy with the orange hat.’ And next time I came in they’d be like, ‘What’s up Dan?’ And I’d be like, ‘Hey, what’s up… guy.’
On a schedule meet up with Alison, the photographer, the time at Khyber is cut sort and they hail a cab to get to the foodery.
Stop 2: The Foodery on 10th and Pine
Sitting in the backroom sharing a vintage bottle of Left Hand Widdershins…
D: I really want to start a business where I stand at bars and hand out cards to people who try to bring in strollers, and just be like, ‘Hey, if you guys need a babysitter so you guys can come out and hang with me, here you go.’ Because I think that would be a great business plan.
J: Babysitter Dan.
D: Another idea I have is, instead of motivating myself to run, I really want to lend myself to chasing people that want to get into shape. There are some people that only run if they’re getting chased and I feel like if I chase them, then maybe they’ll actually…
J: …here’s my idea, just spitballing here. You’re on a Segway…
D: ….it’s a drink tank we’re in right now…
J: …firing a gun at their feet.
D: Only if it’s an air gun.
J: OK. Safety first.
D: I feel like that would be a great business move. There are a lot of people that just need a little motivation. I’m just that right person to chase them. You know what I mean?
The conversation continues with discussions of the drawing dogs peeing hanging in the bathroom and asking Alison about her favortie photos that never got printed in Philly Beer Scene. After a bunch of photos in the store, most of which once-again were cut, it’s time to head to the next bar.
Stop 3: Varga Bar
Dan decides to stand outside to smoke. Jake goes into the var to wait, so Dan begins to interview himself.
D: I really like Kevin Nealon’s bit “Note to Self,” and I’ve been doing that constantly lately, and now I have a microphone to actually do it. So, note to self: I do not appreciate people that are actually bringing one set of headphones to sit at a table to talk and also converse. It must be something really good though. It must be a really awesome YouTube clip.
Hani Gabr, GM AT Amis, and Dave Goldstein, area Rep for Shawnee Creek, walk over and interrupt his solo interview.
D: I actually want to let you know that I’m recording right now. There’s a hot mic. I’m doing a thing for Philly Beer Scene and they left me with a mic.
DAVE: That was pretty dumb.
HANI: Or interesting.
DAVE: So, are you going Hunter S. Thompson right now?
D: No, just train of thought. I have so many ideas. I was talking earlier how I really want to start a babysitters club of sorts. Where, basically, I hang out at places that don’t want strollers in there and I just hand them a card, and that’s like my marketing scheme of ‘Hey, don’t really want you to come in here with you kids and your stroller. So don’t buy the bike lock, just buy a really solid babysitter.’ There are some people that just don’t know really good babysitters. I could be their broker or a babysitter pimp-of-sorts. Basically, I really want people to not bring their kids out to bars unless it’s a kid-friendly bar, in which case, that’s a heavy racket to get into.
They then go on for a while debating what the nickname for Sanch Pistola’s should be. Dan is in favor of Cho’s.
D: Man, I cannot wait to get this tape back. It’s gonna be great, hearing all the bullshit that I’m spitting right now.
DAVE: It’s coming out at a record pace.
D: It’s the Olympics, man.
DAVE: You missed curling.
D: All these people putting their lives on the line just to get down snow. It’s amazing to me.
DAVE: Right, all for some metal.
D: Gold ain’t cheap.
DAVE: Come in third and you get a giant penny.
They head back inside.
D: I love how everyone is staring at me because I’m holding a microphone right now. It’s pretty great. They must be thinking, ‘Is he in Tron? Is that his power charge?’
Dan goes on to tell Alison about Kevin Nealon and his babysitting business.
D: No joke, on the record, I want a tape of this.
And back to Kevin Nealon for the third time.
D: One of my favorite bits is Kevin Nealon’s “Note to Self.” Or, actually, I keep saying Kevin Nealon, but it’s actually Norm Macdonald.
J: If you didn’t work in the beer industry, what would you do?
D: If I was gonna work in anything else, I’d probably be a hype machine of some kind.
“My favorite line is ‘I’m gonna go be Spiderman,’ When I go climb around the keg room.” -John the Bar-Back
J: You would be a salesman in some other respect?
D: No, I want people to get what they want, but I want to actually give them the real deal of what they want in terms of new, fresh, cool. Doesn’t matter what it is.
Walking to the next bar…
J: What dorm did you live in at UArts?
D: I didn’t.
J: Wait, where are you from?
J: I went to Temple, too. Where did you really go?
D: Hardwick. No, I’m actually from, are you familiar with hawks?
J: Like St. Joe’s?
D: No, no, just hawks in general. Well, they typically go around Hawk Mountain just along the Appalachian Trail. Basically, over the mountain from Kutztown. It’s a place called Hawk Mountain.
J: So, how did you find your way to Philadelphia?
D: Well, my family lived in Philadelphia in one way or another. My dad’s side actually married into the Ortlieb’s fortune. My mom’s side, they actually got into Port Richmond just doing their damn thing as a Polish-only bottler and distributor.
J: So you said you went to UArts? Going to film school?
D: No, I went to Temple. I got the all around, well-adjusted liberal arts degree.
Dan and Jake have a touching moment the rest of the walk, boding over a mutual friend out West and how they got where are in life.
Stop 4: Jose Pistola’s
D: Hey, Reese (bartender at Jose’s), do you mind if you‘re on record?
REESE: (laughing) Are we talking about Cho’s? I’ll talk to you about some things. I’m careful. I used to be a newspaper reporter.
D: One of my favorite people in Philadelphia is Reese.
The Bar-Back walks over and starts talking to Dan.
D: Say your name so they get it right.
JOHN: John Steers.
D: I want everybody that I know to be mentioned on this because nobody ever mentions the bar-backs and I hate that. It’s always just bartenders. For every good bartender, there are at least two or three good bar-backs. (Reaching out to shake his hand.) So, a pleasure to shake your hand.
D: You know what? There are a lot of moving parts and nobody ever respects the bar-back.
JOHN: Especially in a building like this.
D: The stairs?
JOHN: Yeah. I use to fill this shirt out. I used to think I should start going to the gym when I got a job. Then I got this job. It’s a workout in itself.
D: I use the term ‘Hulking it out.’
JOHN: My favorite line is ‘I’m gonna go be Spiderman,’ when I go climb around the keg room.
DAN: That’s the one thing that I wanted to come out of this interview. How many parts go into you getting a beer in your hand.
J: Tell the real story.
D: Seriously, I don’t think everyone gets their due diligence.
J: Everyone thinks that craft beer is so romantic and that there is all this love and compassion towards the beer, but a lot of the time, there is just some dude sweating his ass off, working his ass off, and trying to get his job done; that makes that beer happen.
D: You know what? Everything that you guys do makes me happy at the end of the night.
J: So, you have a lot of perspective, as far as levels of the Philly beer scene, starting off as a manager of bottle shops…
I’ll Stand By you by The Pretenders starts playing.
D: …perfect soundtrack.
J: Absolutely perfect. I mean, I played this song about eight times just to get it playing.
D: If you want me to dance, all you have to do is ask.
J: We need more tequila.
D: If you can do it in a ten count.
Dan then slowly counts to ten and they start dancing beside the bar.
D: You know what, I hope your sponsors are happy. You’re lucky I have no shame.
J: I have less than no shame.
D: I also want to reiterate, I have all creative license over any of these photos that are taken. Reese, do you second this?
REESE: I don’t even know what’s going on here.
D: I love directional mics, but this is giving me carpal tunnel, though.
Alison and Jake start talking about P90X and weight loss…Lou Reed’s Sweet Jane comes on
D: I really request that you guysshut the fuck up, because this is one of my favorite songs ever. Reese, did you play this?
REESE: Yeah, I seem to be the only bartender here that likes guitar-based rock ‘n roll.
J: Are you kidding me? Everybody loves guitar-based rock ‘n roll.
REESE: You would think. There seems to be more of a pop aesthetic with most of the bartenders here.
D: I love pop.
REESE: I don’t as much. There are some excellent examples….
D:…mainly Ginger Ale. (clarifying into the mic) That was a joke.
The rest of the time at Jose’s is spent convincing Alison to give them a ride to Sancho Pistola’s or “Cho’s,” as Conway would prefer.
Stop 5: Sancho Pistola’s
D: Note to self: forget all of this.