A Life Behind Bars: Dennis C. Oakley
Glimpse of a Professional Bartender, Artist & Bar Tool Innovator
The Original BarBack Tool – a.k.a. The O-Rig BarBack Tool is a modern tool innovation conceived by professional bartender Dennis C. Oakley in 2005, with convenience in mind. The O-Rig BarBack Tool is a specially designed multifunction tool developed initially to meet the needs of bartenders and servers as well as home/amateur and professional food & beverage enthusiasts. The O-Rig BarBack Tool is the first in a future line of modern bar, food and beverage tools being developed by Dennis And The BarBack Tool Company.
“The BarBack multitool concept” was conceived by the company founder, Dennis in 2005…but his road to the invention was a long and winding, across-the-country journey.
Dennis was born and raised in New York, living in several places between Selden, Long Island and upstate in the Catskills. His grandparents owned a local hotel and tavern in the small upstate hamlet of Palenville, where he lived for most of his youth.
Oakley studied graphic design at R.I.T. in Rochester NY and worked as a waiter while he was a student there. He was also voted in as his fraternity’s Social Chairman, where he organized events and managed the frat house’s popular beer-bar: TED’S BAR. “TED’S BAR was where I first recognized my passion for the tavern business,” Oakley recalled.
After college, he continued to work in the Restaurant & Bar Industry in Florida, Maryland and Northern Virginia, where he soon cultivated a strong set of skills and experience. Oakley continued this adventurous ‘traveling bartender’ lifestyle throughout the early 2000’s. He gained a wealth of knowledge working for successful restaurants and bars across the country from Las Vegas to Dallas to Long Island and Upstate NewYork.Dennis has developed his skill level in the industry over the course of the last 20 years.
“I have always genuinely enjoyed sharing with other people the positive, useful and helpful tricks of the trade that I have been fortunate enough to learn from other great bartenders and captains of the industry along the way,” said Oakley. “This was how the desire to create such a thing as a “bar multitool” came to be.”
Oakley continues to share and teach young bartenders. Always polishing his skills, he has maintained an obsessive eagerness to learn about the newest trends and products in the ever-changing world of craft cocktail mixology, food & beverage service and entertainment bartending, overall.
It was during one of his consulting projects in 2005 when Oakley conceived the idea of a ‘multi-tool’ for bar and restaurant employees. The design concept was literally a simple innovation of tools that already existed as independent units.
“Most people already had items in their kitchen and bar like a bottle opener, a corkscrew, and a veggie peeler, why not combine them together? It was then that I decided that I will be the one to bring this concept to life,” Oakley recalls.
Dennis currently resides in his Saratoga County home with his wife of 4 years, Chrissy, and their lovely 14-month-old daughter. To keep his finger on the pulse of the Beverage & Cocktail Industry, Oakley works part-time in Saratoga Springs, New York, as a bartender and trainer at The Bourbon Room.
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