Mike Salinari

Always with a friendly smile and a sexy glance, seasoned bartender and manager of The historic Stonewall Inn, Mike Salinari, is certainly one of New York City’s most popular nightlife personalities. If you can’t find him at Stonewall, take the ferry to Cherry Grove and look for him behind the bar at  Cherry’s or on occasion at The Ice Palace.

I’ve known Mike for many years and was finally fortunate to be able to talk to him for Get Out! As always, he was cheerful, positive and enlightening as he told me exactly what goes on at the famous Stonewall Inn.

You are a very busy person.
It’s been crazy.

How long have you been managing Stonewall?
I’ve worked at the Stonewall for approx 8-9 years and have managed around 4. Maybe, I’ve lost count.

Well, you’re one of my favorite bartenders.
I still bartend because I love it!

And you still bartend at Cherry Grove?
Just the holiday weekends. I’d love to be out there, but how can I leave The Stonewall? I used to jump on a boat, but I was constantly running. When I started managing, I was still doing both, but it was just too much. You have to be around. So I’ll do Cherry’s for the big weekends, and the Ice Palace just that one Tuesday. I love it out there.

So tell me what’s going on at Stonewall.
Everything! The monument status…every year it’s been something. Last year the city gave us landmark status. The year before that, the government gave us landmark status. Now, this, year it’s a monument with the Parks Department. It’s been amazing for everyone, for the community. It’s what we needed.

How are you celebrating it?
We had the ceremony the day after Pride. It was huge. Edie Windsor was there, everyone from the community was there and The Parks Department and the federal government. It was really mind blowing. Edie is doing the court function today.

Yes, I interviewed The Imperial Court for the function.
Who, Tree?

No, Gary and Doris, but now that you mention it, you might not be my favorite bartender anymore. It might have to be Tree!
Hey! He actually taught me way back in the day. He used to come to the first bar I bartendered in, and I was not a bartender by far. He would sit at the corner of the bar, and I’d be like, “Tree, how do you make this, Tree, how do you make a mudslide?” He helped me out big time. I didn’t even know the man. He came into the bar one day, he harassed me, and we fell in love.

That was like 18 years ago. How time flies! I started late. I know you a long time, too. It feels like yesterday.

That’s true. So, tell me about some  the regular events at Stonewall.
We do The Stonewall Invasion every Sunday night. That’s really an homage to the Fire Island queens. Each week it’s a different queen. As the new ones are coming up into the scene, we’re giving them a shot too. The name Invasion came from the  actual Fire Island Invasion. The girls didn’t have work in the wintertime, so we decided to do this. Sunday nights, drag show, dance party…boom!

Who are your DJs?
It was Chuck, but now he goes back and forth, so now it’s Chauncey. So everyday there’s something going on there.

What’s your personal favorite party?
My favorite is Sundays. It starts at 10 and goes till closing. On Wednesdays we have The Adonis Party, which is 25 dancers. I love Tim; he’s great. He’s such a professional. He keeps it tight. We have Logan Hardcore on Thursday night. You know Logan pretty well!

I do. I remember when she started.
Remember when she came? She was 18. She fell in love with Fire Island, and now we’re stuck with her. Now she’s The Homecoming Queen. She’s a good kid.

When are you behind the bar?
I bartend Thursday, Friday, some Saturdays and Sundays. As manager, you’re always on call.

Stonewall Inn
53 Christopher St, New York, NY 10014


Eileen Shapiro

Best selling author of "The Star Trek Medical Reference Manual", and feature celebrity correspondent for Get Out Magazine, Louder Than War, and Huffington Post contributor, I've interviewed artists from Adam Ant, Cyndi Lauper, and Annie Lennox to Jennifer Hudson, Rick Springfield, LeAnn Rimes, and thousands in between. My interviews challenge the threat of imagination....

Related post