Bartender Celebrates 40 Years at Local Restaurant - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Bartender Celebrates 40 Years at Local Restaurant

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After forty years of mixing tens of thousands of drinks, a local bartender is being celebrated for his many years of service. On this day back in 1975, Luis Zabalegui made his very first drink at this bar. Now decades later, his friends and colleagues are showing him their appreciation.

"He's just one of a kind," said Brian Elcano, the owner of Louis' Basque Corner. 

"A happy time to a very good man," said William Crabtree, a longtime customer. 

"He's my best friend. He's my late brother," said Louis Erreguible, the previous owner. 

Luis has been a part of many memories at the restaurant, including wedding receptions and birthdays over his 40 years of service. 

"I sing for them the happy birthday in three languages, in Basque, English, and Spanish," said Zabalegui. 

But what he's most known for, is the Picon Punch. The bar's signature drink, and Luis' famous Basque cocktail. 

"He makes a great Picon. He can make 20-30 of them at a time," said Fulgencio, a coworker. 

For 35 years, he worked for Louis Erreguible and his family. Since the new owners came, he has maintained his unique charm at the restaurant. 

"He's a staple, you couldn't take him off when we got here. He's an asset. He's really one thing we really wanted to keep," said Brian Elcano, the current owner of Louis' Basque Corner.  

"Since I was a kid, my dad was in the back playing cards with Luis. He's just a great guy, great energy. Wonderful person to work with," said Fulgencio.

Regulars who have been coming to the bar for years say they come back time and time again, all because of the man behind the bar. 

"It's not just a bar and it's not just a restaurant. It's a culture, it's a friendship that gets developed over the years through guys like Luis," said Crabtree. "I think that's why he lasted these years. He's made so many people here want to come back and be a part of it all."

And after 40 years,  he's still always smiling, dancing and even singing. 

"It makes you feel good when you have your customers like you," said Zabalegui.

Luis has slowed down over the years and only works two days a week now, but he enjoys every moment he gets to socialize with his customers. 

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