Born and raised in Letchworth State Park, Steve Parker is the bartender and manager at the infamous Idle Hour bar on Center St. in Geneseo. He is going on his fourth year of employment at the establishment and has since moved from Letchworth to reside in the Geneseo Village. A former chemistry and education major at Geneseo, Parker originally intended to become a high school chemistry teacher before realizing his true passion for breweries. He subsequently dropped out of Geneseo as a sophomore and—after the Idle Hour owner saw him picking up kegs—was offered a position at the bar.
Parker accepted, and has since become a familiar face to all bar goers in town.
“When I was doing my student teaching here at Geneseo, I realized that teaching wasn’t for me,” Parker said. “Working at a bar for the past four years has made me realize my passion for breweries and beer.”
Parker started at the Idle carrying kegs, later becoming a bouncer, bartender and eventually, manager. Parker’s passion for breweries is very apparent—one of his favorite hobbies is trying different types of beer. He estimates that over the course of his life he has tasted a thousand types of beer. In addition, he uses an app called “Untapped,” which is, in Parker’s words, “Facebook for beer.”
When Parker is not bartending, he also enjoys playing rugby. During his time at Geneseo, Parker was a member of Geneseo men’s rugby team and now works as their head coach.
“I’ve been a coach for three years,” Parker said in a phone interview. “I started off as an assistant coach, which I did for two years, and this year I became the head coach of the team.”
As a bartender, Parker has witnessed numerous crazy instances during his time at the Idle. He recounted one incident where a man in a wheelchair stood up and started asking if he could pick people up over his shoulder.
When asked about fake ID’s—an inevitable problem in a college town—Steve laughed and told a particularly interesting story. He recounted that as a bouncer, one must hold ID’s under a hologram light to verify authenticity. When examined under the light, one particular ID read, “This is a fake.” Parker found this humorous and handed it back to the student, questioning how much he paid for the ID. The student replied, “$100.”
Around closing time at work, Parker enjoys playing metal—his favorite genre of music, while friends and regular customers stop in to visit. He mentioned playing Tiny Tim’s “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” for fun, although now it probably signals closing time to customers.
With plenty of interesting stories to share, Parker made it clear that the Idle remains a great place to go—legally, of course.
Correction: September 23, 2016
The original headline for this article read that Steve Parker dropped out of college. Parker graduated from Genesee Community College in 2015 with associate's degrees in chemistry and education transfer.