Bar Beat

A Chat with Geneva Gordon of Under the Volcano

"I'm very shy. That's where the drinks come in," says Geneva Gordon. No matter what Geneva says, though, shy she is not. Working behind the busy bar of Under the Volcano, she's not overly gregarious, but she has the art of conversation down, chit-chatting about subjects ranging from crazy lawsuits to the contestants on VH1's Real Chance at Love (she's a fan of Pocahontas).

Of course, maybe she's just used to dealing with all types. "Before this, I was a waitress at Flying Saucer. I left because I had just been there doing that for too long. I got so tired of the schoolgirl uniforms. It's bad enough that my name is Geneva, but I'm wearing that skimpy thing and a beer goddess T-shirt. People would always ask, 'Are you really a beer goddess?' It was like the same three lines over and over again," says Gordon. "I had wanted for a while to learn to bartend, and I know bartending school is very expensive. I just saw an ad from here in the Houston Press that said they'd train bartenders, and that was it. It's really nice. I lived in New York for a little while, and that's just not an option. You have to have like three years experience and a head shot. I was like, this is not that serious! I am not going to do the America's Next Top Model thing just to be a bartender. If you look on Craigslist and see all the job postings, it's so different. Women post pictures of themselves!" Aside from bartending and waitressing, Gordon mentions she trained at a dance academy in New York and that she studies at the University of Houston.

Ever eager to change the subject away from herself -- okay, maybe she is a little shy -- Gordon takes the opportunity to point out some regulars sitting in a corner with a couple dogs, playing a dice game she says is called CLR. "You roll the dice and that's how you decide where the money goes. There's no skill involved," Gordon says. "They come in here a lot -- most people come in and order the frozen drinks, frozen screwdriver. A lot of strawberry basil margaritas, too. All the margaritas are really good." But conversation soon veers back to Gordon herself when a regular lets slip that she dances for one of the local major league sports teams. "I went to the try-out, and I voted for her," says the regular. "She was the best! Everyone kept saying so." Gordon blushes a little, but doesn't argue the point.

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Sarah Rufka