Behind the Bar: Cocktails and Questions with Courtney Talley

Courtney Talley is a longstanding member of the Richmond bar scene, from the days when Blackfinn was still the local watering hole. She’s seen it all. Seriously. And she’s not impressed. Bartending with her is a mix of hilarious stories, personal conversation, and the inevitable “OKKKKK,” that can be heard across the bar which indicates to both her coworkers and friends that she does not have time for this shit.

She’s got stories for days. And very little time for nonsense. Watching her work is intimidating- she’s a quick flash of smile and then ruthless efficiency at her measures and pours. We’ve known of each other for years, similar and small circles kept bumping into each other, but we didn’t work together until last December when she was at Tazza Kitchen in Scott’s Addition. We became friends fairly quickly, both of us having a love for work and dogs. She and I now work together every Saturday, slinging drinks at City Beach, and mostly I just try to stay out of her way. She’s a machine, that runs on candy and donuts, and she doesn’t stop until we are out the door . While I dream of sleep, she prepares herself for her 10 a.m. brunch shift. She doesn’t know how to slow down. But when she does it’s to hit a workout at Orange Theory, Play with her defacto dog son - Jamo, or purchase new household items and joke about how she’s old now.

As is custom, we asked her a few questions, adapted from James Lipton’s “Inside the Actor’s Studio,” to share a little insight into her personality:

  1. What is your favorite word?


  2. What is your least favorite word?


  3. If you had a super power what would it be?


  4. What is your favorite cocktail?

    A really good Negroni.

  5. What is your favorite beer?

    Ommegang Rosetta.

  6. What is your favorite curse word?

    I can only choose one?! Shit, Fuck, Hooker, Bullshit is my favorite combo.

  7. What sound or noise do you love?


  8. What sound or noise do you hate?

    The noise someones credit card makes when they tap it on the bar while they are waiting for service.

  9. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

    Stay at home dog mom.

  10. What is your favorite quote?

    “This Too Shall Pass,” I love it so much I got it tattooed on my arm.

Courtney was kind enough to create a cocktail of the week for us, a quick shooter that packs a flavor punch. It’s named after a bar guest we all know REALLLLYY well and figure a good shooter and a laugh go hand in hand.


“The Chad”

You can find her behind the bar most days of the week. She’s at En Su Boca on Tuesday’s, Friday’s and Sunday Brunch and at City Beach on Thursday and Saturday nights. Just don’t tap your card to get her attention … or address her as “Hey asshole!” as one misguided bar guest did, before she promptly had him escorted out with a wave.

Stop in to support her at these local businesses, try the cocktails at home and tag us on Instagram with your #tandcocktail #balancedandbadass hashtags.

And keep your eyes peeled for our next installment. Contact us if you want to be a featured bartender, we’d love to share your story and skills.