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Best Bartender 

Charlie Gomez, Granite City Food & Brewery

Charlie Gomez knows more than what's on tap at Granite City Food & Brewery in the Northland. He knows who he's serving. That's because Gomez, who spent years pouring drinks for anonymous passers-by at airport and casino bars, still believes in the part of his job description that most bartenders seem to have forgotten: He's a host. On weekends, the shavenheaded Puerto Rican can call out the first names of roughly 200 customers. On Gomez's watch, it's impossible not to learn a little about the person on the bar stool beside you, and that kind of familiarity transforms what could be a blah watering hole near Zona Rosa into a neighborhood bar, something thought long extinct in suburbia. He also has opinions as thick as his Boston accent, meaning he will tell you straight-up what he thinks about the Chiefs (the Patriots are better) or wax intellectual on any other topic. In this neighborhood, good-natured heckling is encouraged. The most important question, though, Gomez doesn't have to weigh in on: Yes, you'll have another.

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