I have not found a great bartender in Fort Collins. Maybe one or two decent ones - maybe. While I may have been spoiled with great bartenders in Key West, I don’t think my standards are too high. It’s more than simply making drinks and collecting money.
The best bartenders like to drink a lot of different things. They know their alcohol. If the bar stocks something, they know the story behind it, the flavor profile, and how to coax the most flavor out of it. They can recommend wines and beers intelligently - more than just saying it’s light, hoppy, or fruity.
A great bartender plays host, makes eye contact, and can talk intelligently on a lot of different topics. The best bartenders also facilitate conversations among the rest of the bar. They ask questions and are good story tellers - all while still being fast and efficient.
Great bartenders always anticipate an empty glass and take orders in rotation, never leaving anyone waiting. They know the regulars by name and have their drink ready by the time they sit down.
Seriously, it’s not asking too much. On the other hand, since we haven’t found great bartenders here in town, we’re going out less frequently than in Key West (which turned into every night for at least a pint) saving our livers and waist lines.