Lake Tahoe with Jonny Mac
The man referred to in my previous blog post is named Jonny Mac. He was the bartender at The Boathouse on the Pier with the deep, raspy voice that mesmerized me. I was sure he would have a good story because what bartender doesn’t? Especially in South Lake Tahoe! Jonny Mac wasn’t convinced he had a story to tell, but I was determined to learn more about him. Are you ready to hear what I learned?
Jonny Mac was originally from Cincinnati, Ohio. One day, his travel bug started to itch and he packed up his things and drove to Sacramento, California without looking back. His brother was living there at the time and Jonny Mac decided to try living in this new city. About a month later, he decided he had had enough of Sacramento. I can’t say that I blame him! After searching for a new and adventurous town, Jonny Mac landed in South Lake Tahoe.
“I’ve been bartending in this town for twenty six years now. I’ve met a lot of people,” he explained. The first bar he worked at was called Carlos Murphy’s, but sadly it shut down years ago. I was once a bartender (briefly, I dropped a lot of things) and it was always an eventful day on the job. So, I decided to ask Jonny Mac to tell me about the most interesting person he had ever met while working.
There was a man who came into one of the bars at the casino in South Lake Tahoe that Jonny Mac worked at. Jonny Mac recognized him, but didn’t realize who he was at first. It turns out this man was Kato Kaelin. Now, if you don’t know who Kato Kaelin is, you need to go brush up on your true crime knowledge.
Nevertheless, I will help you out! Kato Kaelin was a minor witness in the OJ Simpson trial. He had been staying in the guest house on Simpson’s estate and claimed that he was unaware of anything happening the night of one of the alleged murders. Jonny Mac believed that Kato Kaelin was part of the reason why OJ Simpson was set free.
Anyway, this news almost had me jumping out of my seat! I asked for more, more, and more. Apparently Kato Kaelin came to the bar for three days and Jonny Mac would serve him. I wish I had asked what he drank! All the same, he was the most fascinating person that Jonny Mac had met in Lake Tahoe. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t other interesting people that he served!
One night, there was a group of men at the bar that seemed to be very popular with the ladies. Everyone kept coming up to them and asking for their autographs. Stumped, Jonny Mac asked a couple of the girls who they were. The Killers! They were The Killers! Apparently, The Killers are a super nice group of guys and chatted with Jonny Mac for the evening. I got excited just imagining meeting them!
Among the many others that Jonny Mac met in Lake Tahoe were Aaron Rodgers, David Spade, and the guy from Happy Gilmore that I didn’t quite catch the name. Let’s go ahead and say it was Kevin Nealon! He even went skiing at Heavenly with the guy!
All of these celebrity sightings were not in the bar we were drinking at, unfortunately. Jonny Mac has been working at The Boathouse on the Pier for about a year now. Previously, he was working at Harrah’s at the Stateline in Lake Tahoe for about ten years. We talked about how I used to spend my summers at Camp Concord in South Lake Tahoe and what a magical place the town is.
Jonny Mac is not only an incredible bartender, but he seemed like a completely authentic and extraordinary man. It’s amazing how asking one simple question can lead to learning about a stranger’s life. I am so glad I met Jonny Mac and highly recommend visiting him at The Boathouse on the Pier. Let him know that I say hello!
I want to challenge everyone to go out and ask a stranger to tell them a story! You might be surprised by the connection you make.