Alex Smith Cato's Ale House, 3891 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, 510-655-3349
Don't bring your mother to meet this guy. Legend has it that Alex Smith can induce women to disrobe and hand over T-shirts and cowboy hats with nothing more than the usual bartender tricks -- flattery, flirtation, and (hey, can he help it?) good looks. Smith is the guy behind the bar at Cato's Ale House, a man who knows that a great bartender doesn't say too much, but makes you feel like that IPA you're swilling is the most cherished brew on the planet. Maintaining that aura of mystery that keeps people coming back, he reveals his old-fashioned charm while listing the traits he thinks a good bartender needs: "Efficiency, courtesy, cleanliness." He clearly takes his profession seriously, because he demonstrates all three, along with his own personal brand of humility, which he considers his best quality. But don't think that's enough to earn him a place on the walk of fame: He also is a film star -- of sorts. In Leisure, a recent low-budget indie flick by local director Chris Horvath,Smith plays Lars, a punk character who spends his time trying to prevent Starbucks from opening a cafe on the avenue. Smith says he isn't like his character -- despite having the same social concerns, he notes, he isn't so "spineless and ineffectual." Oh, and ladies, Alex is currently single, although rumor has it he is being hunted down on Craigslist's "missed connections."