We think we found the drunkest bartender in Manhattan.
The Transom feels confident in this assertion, as we have seen our fair share of Manhattan dive bars since 10th grade.
When we first met Frank Mortagua on a sunny Saturday afternoon he was behind the bar at the Tribeca lushing den Nancy Whiskey. Dressed in his trademark gray tattered Hugo Boss sweatshirt, he had a pair of wire framed sunglasses perched low on the bridge of his nose. He was also pouring a bottle of Budweiser into a small beer glass, another customary trait of Frank the bartender.
“I’m not the boss,” he said, pointing to the “Boss” on his sweatshirt. He then stole a sip of his beer —as he would throughout the day, always leaving a few dollops of beer foam on his Don Quixote-esque mustache.
“He’s either at this side of the bar or the other,” said Bob Cendella, a painter who has immortalized Mr. Mortagua—and Nancy Whiskey’s loyal fanbase of blue collar workers and bohemians— in two murals that hang on the bar’s walls.
Whatever side of the bar he is on, Mr. Mortagua will still be drinking with you. Read More