Try your hand at bartending with ''Last Call'' -- Computer game offers virtual watering hole

By Ann Limpert
Updated February 25, 2000 at 05:00 AM EST

Think you know your Black Russians from your Blue Hawaiians? In the game Last Call, set for release in March, you find yourself positioned behind a fully stocked New York City bar, complete with mouthy customers who become louder, brasher, and more impatient as you advance through 12 levels of mixology. It’s as hard as it sounds — the more tips you rack up, the more orders you’re expected to juggle — so who better to test Last Call‘s mettle than New York’s best bartender? We asked Tom Carney, who has held court at celeb landmark Elaine’s for 25 years, to try his legendary pouring skills on a PC.

Carney’s first mistake was forgetting to card the virtual customers. ”You don’t have to do that much here,” he says of Elaine’s, which counts Woody Allen and Kim Basinger among its regulars, ”so I got shut down after doing it twice.” When it came to mixing drinks, Carney didn’t have any problems — in fact, he didn’t even need to consult the on-screen recipe book. Certain flaws didn’t escape his gimlet eye, however: ”I liked the way the bar was set up, though the glasses could have been in a better place. It doesn’t make sense — you have to go all the way to the other end of the bar to get them.” By the end of his stint, Carney had racked up $40 in tips. Not bad for a guy who’s never played a computer game. Still, he was upstaged by his 12-year-old daughter, Ashley, who came away with $63. No one said you had to card the bartender.