In movies like ‘Cocktail’ with Tom Cruise or ‘Coyote Ugly’ with Piper Perabo, bartending is energetic, fun and portrayed as being for the young. At The Gold Slipper, in Dunlap, Iowa, bartending is energetic, fun and not just for the young as patrons of bartender Ray Nauroth know.
Visit the bar on any Wednesday, Friday or Saturday and what you are likely to see is 100-year old bartender Ray Nauroth, doing his thing. The centenarian has worked at the same supper club for more than 46 years.
Owner of the restaurant and bar, Nick Behrendt says Nauroth does an amazing job and is easy to work with. He claims everybody who comes in loves the man. For this reason, the club threw him a birthday party for his rare and important milestone. More than 600 people turned out to celebrate Nauroth’s 100th birthday.
Overwhelmed by the outpouring of affection, Nauroth was surprised by all the fuss. He shook so many hands throughout the course of the evening, he told reporters he felt like a politician. The party and large crowd were more than he expected because Nauroth said to him, the day was just like any other.
Behrendt said it was anything but ordinary. In honor of Nauroth’s birth year, 1911, the club served a dinner special consisting of two sirloins with trimmings and a trip to the salad bar for $19.11. The staff prepared and served more than 220 of the meals that night, leaving Behrendt with one of his busiest nights ever.
Behrendt says he has a hard time remembering that Nauroth is 100 years old because he is in such good shape. The fifty year old owner will ask his older employee to carry a case of beer and then remember that perhaps he shouldn’t do that because of his age.
As for Nauroth, he takes care of himself. Able to live unassisted, he cooks and cleans his own 2-story home and drives to work every day. He even does his own laundry. His golf game is the only thing he claims old age has robbed him of.
The full life he has led includes serving overseas during WWI, a marriage to Geraldine who passed away 17 years ago and with whom he raised three sons and a daughter, and a career as a tax collector for the state of Iowa before becoming a bartender in 1965. All the while, his sense of humor has served him well. When asked, to what does he attribute his longevity, he replied, “My secret is waking up every day.”