The Sweet Sounds of Service

By Sean Kenniff


Sean Kenniff
Bartender Charles Simpson behind the turntable at Expatriate
Bartender Charles Simpson behind the turntable at Expatriate

At Naomi Pomeroy and Kyle Webster’s cocktail lounge Expatriate, most of the records are from Webster’s personal collection. Bartender Charles Simpson (behind the turntable here) has mixed 20 of his own records into the collection, and for him, the music is a big part of why he’s happy at work. Simpson is not alone. Even at restaurants that don’t feature a turntable, tunes are important. Here are the songs (and thought loops) that get Portland chefs and bartenders out of their heads and into the groove of service.

“Get Right Witcha” by Migos
Bartender Tony Contreras of Tusk

“It’s just a loop of myself in my head saying, ‘Don’t go down, Geo.’”
Pastry Chef Geovanna Salas of Castagna

“Don’t Turn Around” by Ace of Base
Chef Ryan Roadhouse of Nodoguro

Белые розы (Belye Rozi) by Laskovyi Mai
Chef Bonnie Morales of Kachka

“Sweet Thing” by Rufus featuring Chaka Khan (Mary J. Blige version also acceptable) 
Chef Carlo Lamagna of Magna

Before service, I love me some Robyn, "Call your Girlfriend"
Chef Elise Walker of La Moule 

1990s R&B and hip-hop playlist featuring R. Kelly, Skee-Lo, and Biggie 
Johanna Ware, Wares

“Old Black Kettle” by Dolly Parton
Maya Lovelace, Yonder

"Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper
Jacob Hearth, Bar Casa Vale

“Africa” by Toto
Chef George Kaden of Grand Army Tavern 

“Stop Ou Encore” by Plastic Bertrand
Chef Doug Weiler of Willow

“Solo” by Frank Ocean
Chef Sam Smith of Tusk

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