Top Shelf Advice: Where the Bartenders Go to Drink

Where and what the bartenders drink, and how they recover

Andrew Friedman, owner, Liberty Bar
Best bar to visit on your night off: Barrio on 12th, especially on Monday (when it’s half-price tequila and mezcal night), Canon and anywhere Jay Kuehner (formerly of Vessel) is bartending.
Most popular drink at your bar right now: Mezcal, the great-grandfather of tequila. It’s also one of the most rich, flavorful and complex spirits available in the world.

Nik Virrey, bartender, Liberty Bar
Best martini: You have to go to a craft-centered bar like Liberty, Canon, Vessel or Zig Zag. It should be made with quality gin, fresh and refrigerated dry vermouth and orange bitters. It is a cocktail, not chilled vodka.
Guilty-pleasure drink: Ha! The corner-store white wine in the summer time over ice.
Hangover cure:
Water the night before and two ibuprofens before sleep. If these are unavailable: sunglasses, coconut water, muscle milk and a five-hour energy drink.
Weirdest drink order you’ve ever received: The ‘Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster’... vodka and soda with a dash of blue curaçao and a float of a green piece of jelly. I’ll never forget that.”

Keith Waldbauer, bartender at Liberty and Liquid Kitchen

Hangover cure: Nuun (electrolyte) tablets, which I buy by the case at Amazon. I take one daily, hangover or not.

Hideki Anpo, bar manager, Poppy

Best bar to visit on your night off: Sun Liquor. Great people to chat with; they always have the whiskey and beer I want—and warm nuts.
Best Bloody Mary: I do love a good michelada (the beer version, but less tomato and more spice and lime). La Carta de Oaxaca makes my fave.
Best Moscow mule: The Walrus and the Carpenter or Montana. Have you tried Rachel’s ginger beer? Do it. Do it now.
Hangover cure: Thai food, a can of Diet Coke and a couch.
Who is the bartender you admire most and why? Guinan from Star Trek: The Next Generation [played by Whoopi Goldberg]. She made some really colorful and cool-looking drinks… Plus, it makes me feel good that bartenders will still have jobs in the future. Why do they need her if they have a food replicator? I guess we do more than just make drinks.

Courtney Matzke, bartender, Rob Roy
Best bar to visit on your night off: If I’m in the mood for a cocktail bar, I go to Canon and Zig Zag. For a more casual time, I enjoy Montana on Capitol Hill or Vito’s.
Best Bloody Mary: Skillet Diner.
What is your hangover cure? Cayenne pepper mixed with lemon juice, honey and water—also makes a really good base for a cocktail!
What is the weirdest drink order you’ve received? Probably an old fashioned with a splash of Red Bull...hey, whatever makes you happy.

Amanda Reed, general manager, Tavern Law

Best bar to visit on your night off: Vito’s is a Seattle cult classic—an old-school Italian restaurant that features live jazz and one of the best back bars in the city.
Best Bloody Mary: Smith. I prefer mine thick, spicy and vegetal.
I especially appreciate when pickled veggies are involved. They have it all.
Best Martini: Zig Zag. Although the bartenders are capable of much more, they do classics with style and grace.
What is your guilty-pleasure drink? Whenever I am on a tropical vacation, I am all about blended piña coladas.
What is the most popular drink at your bar? Old fashioneds. Donald Draper is responsible for this.
What is the weirdest drink order you’ve received? I once got a large group of college kids [at the speakeasy-style bar Needle and Thread] who wanted me to create cocktails that represented the cast of The Powerpuff Girls.