11 Bars gave me 9 Tears

I decided to venture out today for a feel of Seattle’s bars that aren’t as known as Rob Roy, Vessel, Spur, Zigzag, Liberty, Mistral Kitchen, and well you get the picture..

I started off with a pretty well-known classic called “Jack Rose” [AppleJack, simple syrup, lemon juice, grenadine] After my jack rose got muddle hand washed as bartender’s taking all his sexual frustration out on the poor lemon  (why the hell was he muddling lemons? your guess is as good as mine.) I was served an extremely bad unbalanced cocktail on the rocks with a lime garnish.[Jack Rose goes in a cocktail glass and has an apple slice] I decided maybe I should stick to the basics.

I decided to venture onwards and with a new plan.. a Manhattan[Bourbon,Sweet vermouth, Dry vermouth, Orange bitters] plan..After going to 8 bars where the bartenders were ready to shave their heads, climb a tower, and start shooting people[Kitchen Confidential] with extremely poorly made Manhattans that they shake, not even a real shake, they just make it look like they are shaking it.. I had enough.

 I found my self walking home as the rain started to get harder I ducked into ZigZag, a place that has always treated me fair and never shown me an improper cocktail.. I sat at the bar, Murray fixed me an Old Pal.. I sipped and glared.. Here is a man who has been doing this for almost 31 years now and still has amazing speed and always keeps a smile on his face, Erick on the service bar twice his age but just as knowledgable was serving up the drinks faster than they were coming in.. I Started to wonder why are there so few of us bartenders who care about our job.. The bartenders who loves when its busy, a fast movements, the constant chaos, the loud conversations and the feel of a successful night..But enough of thoughts, I had places to go, drinks to drink, bartenders to piss off.. ZigZag regenerated me, got me pumped again.. now it was time to go back out and fight for the cocktail revolution.. Viva le Cocktail I scream (mentally of course) and storm out into the rain knowing im set up for disappointment to come.

I walked up to Post Alley after getting a tip they might be looking for bartenders, I sat down on the new edgy style bar they are trying to project, the bartender was busy muddling cucumber’s and Hendricks gin. Of course his hand was over the glass as he was splashing the ice, gin, and cucumber bits all over his hand.. Nice way to get customers sick. I pull out my book Joy of Mixology by Gary Regan, I asked for a glass of water and waited.

After awhile the owner approached me and asked what I was reading, I told him it’s about the history of cocktails and the art of the bartending trade. We had a bit of short talks and then I asked him if he was looking for help, He replied “yes, but you have something we don’t want” I asked him what it was and he simply replied “A Penis, but by law I have to interview you” I got up, grabbed my stuff looked around, pointed out all the things wrong with this establishment and walked out the doors never to return.. 

I felt like the colonial army losing the war.. I walked head sulking stomping in puddles and embracing the rain. . I look up and I saw Spur’s I remembered some of the guys talking good things about this place, Would this be my French ship coming to help the losing battle[?] I march in and plant myself at the bar, Look up and find a beautiful girl behind the stick, I order a Pimm’s Cup no 1[Pimm’s no 1, fresh lemon juice, ginger ale] and asked her to substitute the ginger ale for ginger beer.

The drink was good, it was a bit to sweet as they made their own ginger beer adding a bit too much sugar, I told her it was fine, but she could see I wasn’t the type of guy who likes sweet drinks, She offered to remake it for me or add some more ingredients to tone it down… I respectfully declined..

I sat at Spur’s and started thinking to myself again, This girl could have made me a poor cocktail like any of the other bartenders did and yet I wouldn’t be as disappointed, hell I might of not been disappointed at all. It wasn’t because she was an attractive girl or the fact that the staff at Spur’s seems to be all model looking girls, it was the simple fact that she took the time to engage her customers needs, When I asked her what she did she simply said “I’m a Bartender” and that’s what I wanted to hear, not some winded story about a failed actress, or guitar player in a band that’s going to make it big one day, just a plain and simple bartender.. And a proud one at that.

I began my journey home, passing by the space needle being lit as the night starts to approach. I am happy I have landed in Seattle, I know the cocktail culture has a long way to go as I continue my search for employment. But people who stand behind the stick at bar’s like ZigZag and Spur’s will stay in my mind for a long time and help keep me inspired much like the American Flag helped lead the Revolution and kept the soldiers on the front line.

Maybe I will open my own Bar one day, Maybe I will set the world on fire somehow, Maybe I will just be an unknown bartender smiling away stirring my Manhattan’s.. Time will tell, but I believe I have entered a time in my life that is full of ups and downs, questions to tests that have yet been answered, and for some reason I am weirdly comfortable with that.


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