A Farewell Ode to a Retiring Bartender

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Roger Nissim.

I received this heartfelt note from a tablehopper reader, Joanne Bowman, about the retirement of her favorite bartender, Roger Nissim, and felt impelled to share it. Here’s wishing him a very happy retirement, and making excellent cocktails for his wife at home: “I thought you might like to know that Roger Nissim, who has been a bartender with ~FOG CITY DINER~ since they opened in 1985, retired this week. I attended a retirement bash for him at the Diner on Tuesday evening with about 100 people to wish him well. The party was put on by the Diner and his wife, Joanne. The Diner was closed for the evening for his party. You may remember he was in the VISA commercial and has been a wonderful ambassador for both the diner and San Francisco. He is a true gentleman and a great bartender. I will miss his presence at the Diner with his coiffed hair and mustache and manicured nails. He is almost 70 years of age. He is one of the best old-time bartenders around and entertained people with his spoons and soft shoe routine while working behind the bar. He will be sorely missed.

“I have been a friend of Roger’s since meeting him at the diner about 24 years ago. Since that time, I would take my mother, father, and grandmother and sit at the bar in front of Roger to eat lunch. Once my mother and grandmother passed on, I visited Roger with my father. The Diner will not be the same without him.”