The drinks are nice but let’s face it, the bartenders are what keep us coming back. Bartenders are the backbone of any great bar and their attitude and gregariousness, or lack thereof, can make or break any establishment.

Each month we will look at the bartenders who are shaping the Houston gay scene and have us lining up for one more drink, even when we know we shouldn’t. This month, we are talking to Francisco Leal, a bartender at the ultra trendy F Bar

Opened in 2011, F Bar burst onto the gay Houston social scene and has shown no signs of slowing down. The luxurious interior and relaxed patio allow patrons to dance the night away or kick up their heels and enjoy a nice breeze. Francisco is just one of the many bartenders at F Bar who strive to make it the premier nightclub in Houston. 

Ryan Bellinghausen: So Francisco, how long have you worked at F Bar?
Francisco Leal: I’ve been at F Bar since last summer but I have been a bartender for about eight years. 

RB: So that would make you how old?
FL: Next question. 

RB: What makes Houston gay bars so unique or special?
FL: I think Houston's diverse culture make a night out at the bars pretty entertaining. I've met people from all over the world including a couple of gymnasts from the U.S. Men's Gymnastic's Team. That was a fun night! For me, every weekend is a chance to make a new friend, and that's what I find so special about the nightlife here.

RB: What is your favorite drink to make?
FL: Shots are always fun to make. I'll usually throw in a little flare to keep you entertained while you wait. People can get impatient so I find this a good way to keep the positive energy at the bar. 

RB: Where is your favorite place to go out in Houston besides F Bar?
FL: When I have a night off I usually like to spend it doing something away from the bar scene. I've been really enjoying the Ipic theater in the River Oaks District. They have a swanky lounge area in the theater called Tuck Room. Drinks are made very well and there's complimentary popcorn! I do enjoy a good Sunday Funday though, and F Bar does it the best!

RB: So, million dollar question, where is the best place in F Bar to get a drink? It can get crowded so which bars are the best to go to?
FL: I've noticed that if you already have a favorite bartender, you'll wait for them to make your drink no matter how many people are crowded around that bar. But, if you want a fast drink, the Express Bar and dance floor bar are where you'll find it. That is, if you don't mind walking through the sea of people on the dance floor. I'll be waiting on the other side.

RB: What is the craziest thing you've seen at the bar?
FR: The craziest  thing is one time I was bartending and this girl just sucker-punched this other girl. I didn't know what to do because it was two girls, so I just stayed where I was. But it was the craziest.

RB: What is your favorite drink to make?
FR: I love making shots. If you order a chocolate martini and we're crazy busy, I will tell you we don't have the ingredients to make it because I just don't have the time.