Behind the Bar: JohnJoe Devlin

We met up with JohnJoe Devlin, pretty much a fixture at Plough & Stars, a busy, well-known gastropub on Second Street between Market and Chestnut in Old City Philadelphia. If you’re looking for a friendly face and a charming accent behind the bar—he’s from Scotland but from Irish stock, he says—Devlin fits that description to a T.

We asked him a few questions about his day-to-day. Here’s what he had to say.

What drink do you serve most often?

I would say vodka and club soda. In draft, it has to be Guinness. On a busy night, I would have to say, six out of every 10 drinks we serve is vodka club.

What do you serve least often?

Probably sherry. At home, sherry would be popular. Your grannies would drink sherry, but over here, nobody drinks sherry.

What do you most like serving?

Me, I like pouring points, it’s easy. Boom boom.

What do you least like serving?

It’s my job, you gotta make ’em all, right? Maybe Shirley Temples. They dye your hands red.

How long have you been tending bar?

Nearly 20 years. I’ve been working here for 10.

What do you like about being a bartender?

You get to talk to people. You never know who you’re meeting; you meet new people every day. You never know what’s coming in the front door, especially here being in the heart of Old City, we have all kinds of people coming in here—politicians, sportsmen. You just never know.

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