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10 Questions | Mark Eggan, Wine Country Bartending

10 Questions: Napa bartender Eggan takes ‘pride in the pour’

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Mark Eggan is one busy guy. He works full time for the Napa County information technology department, tends bar part time at Stone’s Sports Bar & Lounge, and in June started a new business: Wine Country Bartending.

“At 52 years old, my plate is packed,” wrote Eggan.

Wine Country Bartending provides private, professional bartending services, staffed with licensed and insured bartenders. That can include engagements and weddings, corporate events, house parties, backyard barbecues and birthday parties.

Eggan started tending bar while in college in 1994.

“I love to talk to people and really enjoy having a steady clientele,” he said.

1. What was your first job?

Woodbridge Village Association in Irvine as a roving security guard.

2. What job would you like to try/not try?

Try: I would love to try to be a concierge. I have a strong hospitality background in hotels, covering both front of house and back of house. Concierge is really the only thing that I did not do.

Not try: Doctor. The sight of blood will make me pass out.

3. What’s your favorite drink to make?

I love making martinis. Cosmopolitans, lemon drops, espresso and dirty martinis are the most common ones that are requested.

4. What’s a common misconception you get about being a bartender?

That we literally know every drink out there. I can't tell you how many times I have had to look up drinks on my phone or even ask the customer if they could tell me the basic ingredients.

5. Is there any special event or location that you’d like to tend bar at?

I love bartending at all events and locations. From small, intimate venues in the hills to poolside weddings. I couldn't do yacht bartending though; there isn't enough Dramamine for that.

6. What’s your advice for anyone trying to become a bartender?

Get your certificates (such as) TIPS (Training for Intervention ProcedureS), Responsible Beverage Service and SafeServe. Start as a barback or even a server or server assistant at a local restaurant. Spend time learning your craft, experiment with drinks and most importantly, be very social; it's a very social job and you should be a very social person.

7. What is the biggest challenge your industry has faced?

COVID for sure. The pandemic has had a large impact on the hospitality industry. We felt the time was right to start this company up.

8. What’s on your to-do list?

South Dakota. I know, strange … but it is the only U.S. state that I have not yet visited and I would love to see the Black Hills National (Forest) and the record room at Mount Rushmore.

9. What is one thing you hope to accomplish in your lifetime that you haven’t yet?

Starting my own business was always top on my list of my ambitions. I would love to have a thriving business that would eventually allow me to retire from my 8-5 with Napa County (I have worked for Napa County in the IT department since 2000).

10. What was your childhood ambition?

To be the best backgammon player in the world.

Eggan and Wine Country Bartending can be reached at mark@winecountrybartending.com

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Business Editor

Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.

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