New Orleans is a city that loves to drink. Our bars, especially in the LGBT+ community, are considered places not only for entertainment; but community and safe spaces. The people who work in this industry normally always become active in the community and in my opinion are some of the best people in the world. That can definitely be said about my bartender of the month for November – Terri S. Aqui.
I met Terri, who uses both male and female pronouns, in all her splendor at my birthday bash at Good Friends Bar where she not only bartended but did one of the best disco numbers. Show directors, you need to check out this talented performer.
Originally from Wichita, Terri has lived in NOLA for two years. He joked he is definitely not in Kansas anymore. Terri’s story on how he came to our city is pretty inspiring. “Moving to New Orleans was a complete leap of faith. I posted a status on Facebook stating I was ready to move and start my life over again and asked my community for suggestions. Once they were all in I picked the city out of a hat. In that very moment, I called my boss and put in a 1 year notice to let him know I was moving to New Orleans.”
Now that takes bravery and spunk, and when Terri is behind the bar or on stage performing, those traits shine through. It is hard to balance professionalism and playfulness, but Terri is able to maintain a great balance. He can handle a crowded bar with ease and never lose focus. And he knows how to make a great drink. He even has a delicious signature cocktail called the Lavender Punch made with Malibu Rum and topped with Sprite. “It tastes like a vacation in your mouth,” he said.
I love his answer on what he likes to drink. “When I go out and drink, my choice of beverage depends solely on where the sun is located. I drink Stella’s when the sun’s up and Tequila Pineapple when the sun’s down.”
French Quarter gay bars tend to get many tourists and one of Terri’s favorite things about his job is building genuine relationships with people traveling and gaining new friends every day. He says his greatest asset as a bartender is his attention to detail not only while making your drinks initially but after your first visit. “I have patrons I haven’t seen in years walk in and I make their cocktail before they speak because I pay close attention to everything.” I can definitely vouch for that; he was able to remember everyone at the party’s cocktail and had it ready when they walked up.
I asked Terri, “How did the pandemic affect you?”
“When the pandemic occurred,” he replied, “the world stood still and, like a Phoenix out of the ashes, things have slowly but surely started to get back to normal. I believe in the next year or so New Orleans will be back to normal.”
You can see Terri S. Aqui in several places. She has a few shifts at Good Friends, and you can catch her on stage hosting TerriOke Tuesday nights at Good Friends and Wednesday nights at Cafe Lafitte in Exile, along with his new show The Raw Talent Show at Rawhide on Sundays.