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At Bubba’s Silky Lounge in Portland, Cece Champagne Reigns

To say that Bubba’s Sulky Lounge is an establishment in Portland, Maine, doesn’t come near capturing how essential this bar is to the neighborhood. The town’s go-to vacation spot for ingesting and dancing, the bar has hosted numerous birthdays, after-wedding events and teams of mates inside its partitions since its 1961 opening within the Parkside neighborhood. 

The unique Bubba’s was extra of a restaurant than a dance membership or bar, and was notably recognized for the Bubba’s Particular, an Italian sandwich served on a big loaf of Italian bread. The constructing burned down within the late ’60s, however within the many years since, Bubba’s has slowly expanded its unique footprint, evolving from a smaller constructing into the multiroom bar that it’s right this moment, with a light-up ground and antiques that fill each nook and cranny, together with greater than 1,000 metallic lunch packing containers that dangle from the ceiling. 

If you step into Bubba’s on any given night time, dance music fills the area as locals and vacationers alike rub elbows. It’s right here on most nights that you just’ll discover Cece, 71, behind the bar. She has been a bartender at Bubba’s for 43 years, working because the supervisor for a lot of that point. Subsequent to her behind the stick is her sister, Karen, who one Christmas Eve was the primary individual to maneuver Cece from the kitchen to the bar, the place she now resides a number of nights every week. 

After greater than 4 many years, Cece has come to understand simply how far Bubba’s attain is. In reality, she’s been acknowledged in locations as far-off as Aruba and Jamaica. It’s this sense of neighborhood fostered by the bar that retains her excited to be working. That, and the music. 

How did you discover your method behind the bar?
Bubba [the owner of the bar] was in search of kitchen assist, so I began there. I had expertise within the kitchen from the sixth grade on, after I labored at a retailer throughout the road from my center college. I might go there within the mornings and do meals prep and dough-frying, then go to high school. I made a whole lot of meatballs.

It was Christmas Eve day and my sister, who was behind the bar, wanted somebody to assist her. She known as Bubba and he stated it was OK for me to get behind the bar. The shift began at 6 a.m., when the postal employees throughout the road completed their night time shift. We’d get packed. My sister skilled me; she continues to be working right here right this moment, however has been on-and-off at Bubba’s. 

What’s your favourite factor in regards to the job?
I just like the ambiance and I like the folks. I just like the music, the cash is nice and the persons are superior. The nights fly by actually rapidly for me. It is likely one of the nice jobs I’ve had in life, which is why I’m nonetheless right here. Even [when] I used to be working a second job, Bubba’s at all times got here first. 

What qualities make an excellent bartender?
Having the character for it can be crucial. So is the present of gab. You should be a folks individual. You should be caring and passionate in regards to the work. It’s actually the love of individuals.

What does a typical shift appear like?
My sister, who’s the assistant supervisor, will get in earlier than me. She cuts up all of the fruits, shares the entrance with beer and ice. She’s going to give the opposite girls working their banks for the night time that I’ve arrange. Once I get in round 7:30 p.m., it’s beginning to choose up. I’ll bartend with my sister all night time. We normally get out round 1:45 a.m. and I’m going to mattress round 4 a.m. 

What’s your favourite drink to make for friends?
It was once a Lengthy Island Iced Tea; all the pieces goes into that drink. I’ve gotten away from these and can solely make them when enterprise is slower. Round midnight we don’t do Lengthy Islands or photographs anymore. I determine folks don’t must be doing photographs at the moment of the night time. It isn’t at all times in regards to the cash, however ensuring our friends get house safely. 

I created a drink known as “Fruits Across the World” and other people appear to love that one so much. It’s fruit vodkas, Sierra Mist, grenadine and pineapple. I’ll ask what their favourite fruit is and that’s the largest pour. It’s fairly in style.  

How has bartending modified because you began?
It has modified fairly a bit in 43 years. The liquor legal guidelines have gotten stricter—it is advisable to watch out serving folks. You roughly really feel like a babysitter at some factors. Again in my day, girls used to rise up and dance in teams. Now women and men will rise up and dance on their very own; you by no means noticed that earlier than.  

How lengthy do you propose to bartend for?
I could possibly be performed anytime. Perhaps after I’m 72 or 73. However I may change my thoughts, it could possibly be subsequent week. I don’t have to work, however I take pleasure in it. It will get you out of the home, retains you in form, offers you one thing to do. If it wasn’t for the good folks, I might not be right here. The clientele may be very good. I take pleasure in entering into and seeing them and assembly new folks. Folks are available from across the nation and go to, then once they come again they bear in mind you. 


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