Bartender Lannie Tunstone at Tulio. (1100 5th Ave., 624-5500)
Where: Tulio, the Italian restaurant’s wood-paneled bar, featuring summer sidewalk seating, quiet jazz from the speakers, and a marble clock above the bottles that looks like a tombstone and is always set to happy hour.
Who: Lannie Tunstone, who’s been a bartender for over twenty years, including in the Columbia Tower’s private club, where celebrities would go to avoid the paparazzi while drinking.
Do celebrities drink differently from the rest of us? “All I can say is that Walter Kronkite loves his Johnny Walker Red.”
Any celebrties at Tulio? “We had Loni Andersen (of WKRP of Cincinnatti and formerly married to Burt Reynolds fame) in the other day. And Mike Piazza (baseball catcher) likes to come by when he’s in town.”
The usual clientele: “It varies quite a bit, but it's generally upscale. Because we’re attached to the hotel (Hotel Vintage Park), we get a lot of people who are in from out of town, the 5th Avenue theater crowd, (restaurant and bar) industry people. Over the weekend, we had a lot of New Yorkers; they were in town for the baseball series. They’d come in and ask for pizza. We have pizza, but not what they were looking for.” (The bar offers an assortment of tasty-sounding whole pizzas—margherita, pancetta, prosciutto—but not your classic NYC by-the-slice.)
The vibe: “You won’t find a TV or loud music in here. That’s deliberate. We’re reviving the lost art of conversation.”
Lannie’s drink: The Courvasier Sidecar: Courvasier, cointreau, freshly muddled orange, lemon juice, and a rim crusted with finely granulated sugar and dried grapefruit. It’s refreshing, sweet without the unpleasant aftertaste.
Why? “It’s fun to revisit the old staples. We do a lot of those, things like sidecars, gin rickeys, instead of going with the cranberry juice and the flavored vodkas.”
Those are too sweet?
“That stuff...that’s why we have Applebees and Red Robins. The old-time cocktails from the thirties and forties...I don’t want to say people were alcoholic, but they took care of business. Now, the days of the three-martini lunch are pretty much done.”