tampabay.com

Our ultimate bartender raises the bar

By Jay Cridlin
Published June 29, 2007


Marcie LeBlanc's upbringing was nothing if not wholesome. Her parents own a produce stand in Brandon. One of her sisters is a doctor. The other is an FBI agent.

Who could have predicted LeBlanc would someday become the face of one of the rowdiest party bars in Ybor City, dancing atop the Coyote Ugly bar until the wee hours of the night?

"When you're up there, it's powerful, " says LeBlanc, 32. "You have to entertain an entire crowd of people."

And entertain them she does. Marcie LeBlanc, who's danced and poured shots at Coyote Ugly for two years, was voted the winner of this year's tbt* Ultimate Bartender contest.

The Brandon High School grad is a natural behind - or on top of - the Coyote Ugly bar. During the week, she works as a real estate appraiser in Tampa, but on Friday and Saturday nights, she gets her boot-scoot on before a raucus Ybor crowd.

We caught up with our cover girl to chat about her win, her favorite drinks, and why Antonio Banderas can get free drinks in Ybor any day.

So what makes you so "ultimate"?

I've fit in at any of the bars I've worked at. My regulars tend to follow me from bar to bar, depending on where I'm working. Most of my regulars, I know their husbands and their wives. When you get to know them, you can hold a conversation, and you start to form a relationship with them.

What should people know about the Coyote Ugly experience?

Don't expect to come into a passive bar. When you come in here, the girls are going to want to talk to you, they're going to want to joke with you over the microphone. It's an interactive bar, so we're going to want to hear you yell. We want you to get involved with us. We want feedback from everybody.

I've never danced on a bar in tight jeans and boots. Is it tough?

You have to learn all the choreographed dances before you can tend bar. You have to audition, we have to know that you can do them, and then you get put behind the bar. The biggest thing is balance. Always pick somebody out of the audience and make eye contact - it gives you a center point when you're spinning.

Do you have a favorite drink?

Myself? I drink straight shots of Crown. But when I'm making a drink for other people, I usually make a Sexual Alligator. It's a layered shot, and not everybody makes it here. It's Midori and pineapple juice - you shake it up, you pour it in, and then you layer Razzmatazz or Chambord on the side, and it floats down to the bottom. Then you layer Jager on it, and it floats up to the top. I only make it for special occasions, like birthdays. A special shot takes a while to make.

Here's something that every guy reading this is going to want to know: How do you pick up a Coyote Ugly bartender?

(laughs) You have not watched the movie! You can't. It's a policy you sign when you first start working here. Your boyfriends can't come in here, you can't get phone numbers, you can't go home with anybody, and you can't date anybody. That really stinks.

So if George Clooney walked in here, you're telling me you'd turn him down?

Antonio Banderas. He'd be better. (laughs) I would hope my manager would understand. I'd take a sabbatical for the night.

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Meet the bartenders

We had 53 entries in our Ultimate Bartender contest. Here's a quick peek at some of the contenders.

 

Most Adored

Tracy: Dallas Bull

It was hard to turn around in Tampa Bay without hearing about her. From local radio personalities to computer geeks building Web sites, they are all in love with everyone's favorite cowgirl.

Most Creative Entry

Frank: Green Iguana, St. Pete

Jail time? Last I checked, jails were still bar-free. But Frank may be on to something. Being in the lockup would be much more interesting with a cocktail comrade around.

Most Mysterious

Jennie: The Hub

With such a close picture, you'd think we'd able to figure out what she has in her mouth. A great unsolved mystery of the world.

Best Trick

Skye: UA Hangout

A year later and still at it. Skye does not seem to fear the fire marshal. Waste of alcohol or crowd pleaser? You be the judge. Just don't try this at home.

Can Give Carpel Tunnel

Lindsay Lu: Mugs N' Jugs

There is at least one person seeking help for "excessive-refresh-button-pushing injury." Somebody was so in love with Ms. Lindsay Lu that they had to load her bartender profile over, and over, and over.