Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Last Words

I don't really know where to start. I guess the best place is to convey my deep sense of gratitude to my friends and family. I really appreciate all of your support through the lean first couple years and the busy last couple. I wouldn't have been able to be creative and do something that I truly love without all of your support through kind words, patience, and frankly, patronage.

I know that a lot of people think that the bar is stuffy, pretentious, or the spearhead of gentrification in a neighborhood that I love, but for me it was at its heart just a neighborhood bar. I tried (with varying degrees of success) to create a place that I would feel comfortable coming into after a day working in the yard or taking a date out on a Friday night. It has been a privilege to build something and share it with all of you. I can't express how much it has meant to me that so many people have shared so much of their lives with us – from the parents who had a sitter and grabbed a quick snack and a cocktail to the young man who proposed to his girlfriend out front. It has been fantastic that the bar was the local spot for everyone from the barbers next door to professors at UWT and Puget Sound.

I'm not going to get into details about what happened Monday morning other than to say that they terminated my position, after which I told them that it would be a good idea to dissolve our business relationship. The majority of my equity in the bar was in a handshake agreement which they told me they had no intention of honoring. When I asked them to buy out the equity that is in writing, they offered a small amount in return for me signing a non-disclosure agreement. I declined the offer, they threatened with having my reputation in the community destroyed, and at that point I promptly left.

I don't know what is going to happen to the bar, but it can't and won't be the same because the owners don't share my values. I would be shocked if they continued to work with local farmers and vendors or if they sourced ingredients based on quality and not profit margin. Who knows, maybe it will end up fantastic, but it definitely won't be the same.

My new project Hilltop Kitchen is still in the works with a friend and different business partner. It should be open in about a month or so. We are very excited to see all of you and to get the chance to serve you food and drinks again. You can follow our progress or get in touch through all of the usual social media.

Thank you so much to Katy for being awesome. Thank you so much to Corey, Cynthia, Jena, and everyone else who works or has worked at the bar. It has truly been an honor to work with all of you. You are my surrogate family and are the kindest, funniest, most generous and creative group of people I could have ever asked for. Thank you.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

4 year anniversary

O boy, it has been a while since I've posted anything on here. Funny how a year can get away from you...

Here we are on the verge of 1022's 4th anniversary. The last 4 years have been a fun, challenging, enriching experience that I value very deeply. I have been lucky enough to meet many amazing people, and even luckier to become friends with a few of you. I deeply grateful for everyone who's come out and supported us whether it's a quiet Sunday afternoon or a circus-like Saturday night. We are privileged that we get to do this – have fun and make drinks and food for our community. Hopefully, we can continue for years to come.

We have a few changes slowly happening this year. As many of you have seen, we're expanding the kitchen into the back space that we've been leasing for sometime. This expansion is a natural part outgrowth as it was once (old Tacoma people remember) a coffee shop at one point. This expansion is going to allow us to develop our food program in exciting ways, but first and foremost it is going to allow us to do what we do a little more expeditiously. 1022 was never built to do what we do, so we have some natural bottlenecks that most people have been gracious and patient about. Expanding should relieve that stress and help us make you food and drinks faster. Eventually (soon?), it will also allow us to pick up a few more seats. We are very excited about this.

The growth and expansion is also going to come with something of a facelift. We've commissioned the immensely talented Maria Jost to make a series of art pieces about our most commonly used botanicals which we'll install this weekend. For more details on that, check out the FB events page.

Finally, the bar's cocktail program is going to focus a little more around whiskey, gin, brandy, and sherry. We'll continue to stock mezcal, cachacas, rums, etc., but they won't be quite as extensive or have the same menu presence. We're also rolling over most of the menu, so a lot of the old drinks won't be coming back (some of the highly specialized ingredients are gone forever.) Come check out our new menu at the anniversary party onMarch 29th. I'll try to keep more up to date on here with events that we're putting on. In the meantime, check the FB or twitter for what we're currently up to.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! Last year was amazing, to say the least. I want to thank everyone who came out and supported us. Thanks to everyone who was patient as we worked out some kinks and experienced a few growing pains. On that note, we still don't take reservations, but if we're completely full, there's no longer a wait to get drinks. Come in and we'll get you warmed up in no time...

We've had a bit of a staffing change w/John Star leaving. He's an immensely talented bartender and he will definitely be missed. We recommend everyone visit him at Paratii in Ballard. With the shuffle of covering different shifts, I will be taking over the Monday late night shift. Here's the Industry Menu we're rolling out this Monday:

In addition to Industry Night, we have a Wine Night on Tuesdays where all bottles of wine (including bubs!) are half priced.

And finally, Thursday night is Ladies Night, so all of the ladies can enjoy the happy hour all night long.

We are excited about the future on Hilltop. Keep an eye out for the Peterson Bros bar around the corner which is slated to open sometime early this year. Also, we have a few fun surprises lined up as well...Cheers!


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Why We're Like This

I was in New Orleans a little over a year ago for a cocktail conference. I'd never been before and I was excited as it was one of the few large cities in the contiguous US that I hadn't yet visited. The conference, Tales of the Cocktail, is debaucherous blend of work and play; we drink, listen to people talk about alcohol, take a break to eat, then drink more, listen to people talk about alcohol, then the fun begins when we go out and play... The conference ends up being what I think most people think our careers are like instead of fishing lemons out of floor drains and the end of the night, cleaning up vomit/blood/shit, or banging out hours of prep and studying menus only for people to be pissed that we don't have their brand of vodka/energy drink/mixer du jour, or losing their shit because they can't stand in the aisle and drink not because the bartender is a pretentious asshole but because that's what the boss says are the house rules (sorry). Instead, Tales is/was wild, late nights full of too much alcohol, too many stories, and more that a little bacchanalia. And the best part? It starts again in the morning w/Kahlua sponsored coffee bars and Bloody Mary bars sponsored by some anonymous vodka or another. In short, it is (or was...that's a different post), fun.

The anecdote I want to quickly relate, one that I'm sure if you've heard before if you've either been served by me at the bar or had the misfortune of drinking w/me at another establishment, is my last night in New Orleans. I'd had a wonderful, surreal time for 4 or 5 days, when on the last night I was drinking at one of my favorite bars in the world, Bar Tonique. I'd been there many times and I've been back subsequently and it stands up every time. I was enjoying a couple drinks before catching a red eye back home when I asked the bartender for a quintessential New Orleans cocktail. I explained that I was in town for Tales, that I loved Bar Tonique, and that I would like something to send me off on the right note. Without hesitation, he knew what to make. However, before making it, he went over to the stereo and changed the music to Slayer's Reign in Blood and then proceeded to make me the best Ramos Gin Fizz I've ever had. It was amazing, he was gracious (as has been every bartender there), and it was exactly what I needed to wrap up my experience.* My takeaway was that fancy, obscure, pretentious cocktails do not a bar make. I wanted Bar Tonique in Tacoma more than I ever wanted Zig Zag, Alembic, Sambar, or Bourbon and Branch.** I wanted (and am still wanting) a divey kind of place that I can get a fantastic drink, listen to Fugazi, and play pinball. While we can't be all things to all people (or even really everything I want), I did stop wearing ties (at least for a long time), we did start playing more rock (although Botch is still a bridge too far), and we've tried to be more of a neighborhood bar (which is what we were always trying to do), and we strive to give good service and make everyone comfortable.

This is a really long way to say that if you come in and we're listening to Nas or Fugazi, or if you order and Apothecary Cup and get a BLUE DRINK(!) or something spicy or bitter over a large ice cube, this is where we're coming from. We know we're not the fastest, but we try to say hello, to remember your drink and/or your name, and to treat you well regardless of what you order.***

* What made this even better was that as soon as he starting playing Reign in Blood I bummed cigarette from an attractive, older woman who was talking to me. I hadn't smoked for a long time at that point and I was thoroughly enjoying the cigarette when the drink arrived. As soon as he set it in front of me the thought, persistent and unbidden, chttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifame to me that I was going to spill the drink all over the bar. I drank a third of the drink while obsessing about this before accidentally spilling the Ramos Gin Fizz all over the bar. I was embarrassed and apologized profusely, but he never missed a beat in cleaning up the drink and quickly whipping up another, which I enjoyed in its entirety.

** Links aren't working for me tonight. Go to these bars and also Liberty (Capitol Hill, Seattle) because they're awesome and doing it right.

*** It's your money and your drink. If you want your vodka, vermouth, and scotch shaken, or if you want all of the ice chunks in your cocktail glass, I don't give a shit. You're paying for it, so you get it your way. Just don't be an asshole, please.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

MxMo: Retro Redemption!

Over a decade ago I was working at Boeing mopping floors, taking out trash, and trying to work as little as possible while avoiding my bosses and co-workers. It was a pretty sweet job as I was paid fairly well, I only had to work about half my shift (while I spent the other half getting caught up on my reading), I had full benefits, and Boeing was paying for school. However, there was also mandatory overtime and I worked nights, which definitely put a cramp on my style (by style, I mean ability to go to punk shows and chase girls). At the time I had a friend who was waiting tables at a shitty chain restaurant and making the same money as me, but working half the time. That was really all it took for me, so I quit Boeing and took the fhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifirst job waiting tables that I couldhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif get with no experience, which was a graveyard shift at Denny's. Suffice it to say, it was awful, and after months of grinding it out working 16 hour shifts, having customers threaten to beat me over brown vs. white gravy, and making pennies (literally bags of them), I was given the option to get off graveyard if I would take over for the bartender who'd just walked off the job. This was in the late nineties, so when Jacob over at Liquidity Preference chose Retro Redemption as this month's Mixology Monday theme, it resonated with the young bartender in me who made too many Alabama Slammers and Alien Urine Samples.

Those of you who've been in the bar know that I don't really stock any of the saccharine sweet, sticky, hypercolor liqueurs that seemed to dominate the back bars of my early bartending jobs. So, here's what we've come up with:

Hilltop Slammer
.5 oz Evan Williams bourbon
.5 oz Pacharan
.5 oz Lazzaroni amaretto
.5 oz Kuchin peach brandy
Splash of oj
Splash of lemon juice

Combine ingredients in shaker over ice, shake, then strain over ice into pint glass. Finish with orange twist.

It actually wasn't too bad. Sweet, orange, and boozy. I definitely won't be having another, however.

Hilltop Iced Tea
.5 oz well vodka
.5 oz well rum
.5 oz well gin
.5 oz lemon juice
splash triple sec
house made cola
.5 oz Lemon Hart 151

Combine the first five ingredients in a shaker over ice. Shake, strain into a pint glass over fresh ice. Add cola. Light the 151 on fire, make an ostentatious show of it by swirling the flame around the glass, then pour over the top of the drink.

Ya, so, this one is kinda tasty and really boozy. It does exactly what it's supposed to do, which is why we have a two drink limit.

Finally, I finished with a Balvenie Doublewood as a palette cleanser because through this entire endeavor I was reading Pacult's Kindred Spirits. He mentioned that the popularization of scotch in the late eighties opened the door for the proliferation of single barrel small batch whiskeys. Regardless, I needed something a little..sturdier. I do this for you guys...

Friday, October 28, 2011