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East Bay Bars Have a Staffing Problem

In the age of Instagram, where pictures are worth a thousand words and everyone has something to say, restaurant and bar work has become romanticized. But it takes more than a picture-perfect snapshot with a pithy caption to run a successful business of this kind. It requires a great location, a thoughtful menu with a point of view and loyal customers. And it takes a whole lot of staff. In today’s market, saturated with quality restaurants and innovative cocktail bars, dedicated employees are in short supply.

Read the full story here. Published July 24, 2017.

Photos by Nando Alvarez-Perez and Vaughan Glidden.

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The West Coast cocktail revival started in Emeryville thanks to this man

On an unassuming street in the middle of Emeryville is the Townhouse Bar & Grill. The restaurant, located in an old, wooden house, its facade faded by the sun, stands in sharp contrast to the newly constructed buildings erected around it. Its walls have discolored unevenly, half of them brown and the other a jaundiced yellow. There are two red tents shyly peeking over a fence, indicating a coveted backyard area. Once inside, however, its rustic exterior gives way to a charming dining room lined with neatly set tables atop white linens. There’s an inviting copper bar crowned by a full shelf of curated alcohol.

It may not be immediately apparent from Townhouse’s humble, homey appearance, but it is more than a neighborhood place where people come together to break bread and sip Martinis. It was ground zero for the start of the West Coast’s contemporary cocktail revival, which began here in the early 1990s. This boils down to the employment of one person: Paul Harrington.

Read the full story here. Published on September 15, 2017.