Drinking has a name

Stella after a days of work

If you don’t mind, allow me to introduce myself, my name is Thomas Bondesson.

Haven’t heard of me? Don’t blame you.

 I am not a famed starologist, nor am I a known cocktail enthusiast. I am a simple guy (well most of the time) who found a passion for a very un-simple life.

This is my personal blog about the daily struggle of being in a new city,  having a new audience, breaking in a new scene and generally living the life of the unsung social master,  commonly referred to as; The Bartender.

My past (much like my present) was filled with moving from country to country, state to state, and city to city. But this time it’s different, this time I’ve landed in a city I generally love. I am proud to call Seattle my new home, I mean the culinary and cocktail boundaries here in Seattle are nothing short of inspirational.

As a young bartender it can be intimidating being surrounded by such talent as Murray Stenson and Erik Hakkinen  from ZigZag, Zane Harris and Anu Apte from Rob Roy, Andrew Bohrer from Mistral Kitchen, Andrew Friedman and Keith Waldbauer from Liberty, Kevin Langmack, Rocky Yeh and the rest of the crew at Vessel, the talent and amusing tenders at Taverns Law and the breaking edge  philosophers at Spur’s  (This list could go on for a long time).  Lets not forget famed cocktail critic’s like Robert Hess from none other then Drinkboy.com and Paul Clarke freelance writer for New York Times.

But one thing I have found out, This culture is different from the cocktail culture in New York, San Fransisco, New Orleans and closer to now home Portland, Oregon. You see Andrew Friedman built this Washington Bartenders Guild to unite all this talent. There is no competing between bartenders, instead its a united city competing for its cocktail movement culture in America. These night-walking misfit guys and gals have unknowingly inspired younger generations of up and coming bartenders, they have created an environment for bartenders to get hired based on their passion and enthusiasm for this night living life, instead of their years of experience and size of their bra’s (although it does help).

My Passion for cocktail culture isn’t some romantic story of growing up in the bars watching my sailor father cheering and mingle with the patrons as the bartender stood heavenly behind the bar looking like the gate-keeper to heaven. No growing up in Sweden was nothing of the sorts, my Father however was a sailor, but there would be no crystal walls of alcohol bottles, far from it.. Days were filled with great Danish beers and nights were filled with bone cold temperatures and terrible made clear alcohol that had no name. .( But hey, that story is for another time). My Passion came later on in life, I was working for a company known as Aqua Tech and commuting everyday with the cattle, I needed out, I needed a new life, I had been putting in resume’s with no offers untill one day I got called for an interview for a dishwasher position. I didn’t want this job, but being the person I am I didn’t believe in turning down an interview.  After  20 minutes of asking me questions they informed me I didn’t get the job, simply because I was to kind, I smiled often, I spoke easy but confident, no instead they wanted me in front of the house. I thought to my self “Hell why not, I need something different in life” so I took it(and a 16 D/HR paycut),  a 22-year-old buss boy with no restaurant experience… (oh boy!)

It wasn’t long before I found myself behind the bar every chance I got, When I bussed all my tables I would help the bartender clean all his glasses, cut all his fruit, constantly pick at his brain, I had never been so interested in something before..  to cut the story short, my mentor decided to move on to a better opportunity, with the staff behind me and the general manager thriving off my enthusiasm I was promoted to head bartender (found out months later that my toughest competition for the job was a hostess who now is my current girlfriend and roommate in our newly acquired Seattle apartment, love you Sav!). To once again cut things short the restaurant got closed down due to construction defects and it was time for me to take my passion to a point California just could not offer me anymore, So now I find myself here in Seattle, Typing away a tale of booze filled decisions…

Which brings us to the Title Seattle Scofflaw. the definition of a Scofflaw is “one who flouts the law”  [During the dark days of Prohibition, this term was a popular one, thrown at those brave, thirsty souls forced into hidden speakeasies by their own government. – Cocktail Enthusiast]. I have used this title because in away from my own life, I have made decisions on career choices and goals that general force me to be in a bar, but unlike our prohibition Scofflaws, I’m not hiding. (well most of the time) 

With that taken care of its time to end my first post, I hope this and future post will inspire younger and older bartenders and new comers to this great city or in fact any city, like so many of the above mentioned names have inspired me.

Three sincere cheers.

Thomas “Scofflaw” Bondesson


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