Meet Our Bartenders: Aaron Spellman / Madam Marie’s

Aaron Spellman had no intention of becoming a bartender when he moved to New York City from his native Galway, eight years ago. “I fell into it totally by accident,” he said. He’s lived all over the city: first in Astoria, then Sunnyside, Woodside, Bay Ridge, among other neighborhoods. Now, he’s back in Astoria; conveniently, his apartment is just a few blocks from Madam Marie’s, where he’s worked for five years. 

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Aaron Spellman credit photo John DeMato 

When he first moved to Astoria, he became somewhat of a regular at Judy and Punch, the sister bar of Madam Marie’s. After getting to know him, the owners offered him a job in June 2017. A few months later, he started working at Madam Marie’s. “I absolutely love it here,” he said. One of his favorite memories from the bar was soaking a friend with an entire bottle of Champagne on New Year’s Eve. He remembers having to scrub the sticky spots off the ceiling the next morning. 

The best parts about his job are being able to chat with different people every day and the friendships he’s made over the years; at first confined to the bar, then growing into sincere friendships outside of work. “Working in this community, you see familiar faces all the time. It’s easy to make friendships in a neighborhood like Astoria,” he said. “It doesn’t feel like a job when you enjoy what you do. It’s rarely the same thing twice,” he added. 

When Madam Marie’s first opened, the community’s reaction, and their generosity, moved him. “Astorians are very welcoming. The people are just very decent,” he said. According to Spellman, the different cultures, the food, the beauty, the peacefulness, the water, are the things that make Astoria special. 

The most rewarding part of his job is listening to people and, when they’re having a bad day, letting them know they’re not alone. “There is the possibility of turning someone’s bad day into a good day. They can come here for whatever it is they’re looking for,” he said.