My choice for this month has been a long time coming. I had originally scheduled him for April 2020 and we all know what happened then. The world, Ambush Magazine and the industry got put on an unscheduled hiatus. Now as we slowly come back, I am happy to name Grant Dane Kay as September Bartender of the Month.
I was on a recent adventure in Houma with my friend David Chase attending their 1st Annual Pickle Festival. (Yes, I will literally go to any event, but in my defense I really like pickles). Anyway, I had been seeing lots of promotion for Houma’s new LGBT+ bar Androgyny on social media, so thought about stopping by to see what all the excitement was about. And we were pleasantly surprised to find Grant working there.
Grant is originally from Houma but moved to New Orleans where he worked at Crossing NOLA before COVID struck. In August 2020, he decided to move back to his hometown to take care of his father who had taken ill.
Luck was on his side with the opening of Androgyny, a very cool club that has a spacious dance floor, great aesthetic, and an impressive bar. Grant has worked at Androgyny since it opened six months ago. Working most of his adult life as a bartender, he is a force behind the bar and has created some delectable libations I was lucky to try while visiting.
The Bourbon Buckshot has Jim Beam Red Stag (Black cherry liqueur and Kentucky Straight bourbon whiskey) with Cherry Flavored Energy Drink. That will definitely have you on your feet and dancing. Then there is the Kinky Mango which is a Mango Flavored Vodka with Fruit Punch or the Boys & Berries Shot that includes Frangelico with Chambord that is sure to make your taste buds jump with joy.
Grant is a consummate professional behind the bar, making his patrons feel at home immediately. He’s funny and knows how to make a serious cocktail. When out with friends, he is partial to vodka-based drinks, tequila, and margaritas with orange liquor and a sugar rim.
I asked him if there were many differences between bartending in Houma and New Orleans. “Besides most of my crowd being locals as opposed to tourists; we have a slower pace down here. We are able to be more personable and connect with our patrons because it is not as fast-paced. I have met so many people living in Houma, it is a wonderful experience. And I am a quick car ride away from NOLA when I want to visit.”
Even though the pace may be slower than the Crescent City, that does not mean Androgyny is not busy. This club packs them in especially on the nights they have live music, fundraisers and drag shows; and now they will be open on Sundays for Saints games. The bar’s normal days open will be Thursdays through Sundays.
I was curious how COVID had taken its toll on Grant and what he feels is in store for his industry? “COVID changed my life completely, I lost my job in NOLA and relocated. But I bounced back and have created a new happiness for myself. I am relieved to be vaccinated. I believe I had COVID at the end of 2019 before it was really known, so I am aware of how scary a virus it is. I think more businesses need to take steps to protect their staff to keep them healthy so they can continue to make money for them and ourselves.”
I could not agree more with Grant’s words. The best assets of a business are its employees, so keeping them healthy and happy should be the number one priority. If you are in the mood for a day trip outside of NOLA, go check out Houma and have Grant make you one of his famous cocktails. You can normally find him working behind the bar Thursday through Saturday from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.