Food

My First Job: Toki Underground’s Neil Dundee

Neil Dundee. Photograph by Antoinette Brock.

We asked DC bar folks how they first dipped their toes into the biz. Here’s Neil Dundee, beverage director at Toki Underground:

“My first bartending job was at the Holiday Inn in Frederick. It was the mid-nineties and we had the biggest dance floor in the county, plus hotel rooms. When I accepted the job I was specifically asked to work the first Sunday night every month. I agreed and found out why later. The first Sunday of every month was ‘The Frederick Singles Dance.’ The bar loaded up with about 100 guests strong by 10 p.m.. My tip jar filled up quickly with quarters from the men and phone numbers from the women. I was 21 and the average age in the room was 45. The worst night was getting a phone number from a friend’s mother, and then later cleaning up her throw-up in the lobby. I mixed a ton of rum and cokes, poured a lot of Coors Light draft beer, and learned a lot about people who stay in hotel rooms regularly.”

Check out our guide to Washington’s cocktail culture in the April issue—on stands now. 

 

 

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Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.