I still remember the first time I laid eyes on Murray Stenson, named “Best Bartender in America” Saturday at the 2010 Tales of the Cocktail festivities in New Orleans. I was young then, and carefree, and holding down the bar at il Bistro watching Murr the Blur pour it on: crafting drinks, lighting cigarettes and emptying ashtrays (remember those?), keeping a sharp eye out and an amiable patter up with his trademark effortlessness.
He’s since made a name for himself — and our fair city — at the Zig Zag Cafe on the Market Hillclimb, and when the judges crowned him king of the cocktail on Saturday, my colleague Tan Vinh reports that judge and cocktail historian David Wondrich had this to say about that: “He should be knighted, but this will have to do.”
Old-school cool: Seattle bartender Murray Stenson, “America’s Best Bartender.”
Seattle Times photo: Erika Schultz
Which leads me to wonder: When you’re out sipping a cocktail, who do you hope to find on the other side of the bar? Name names, and tell us where we’ll find them. Me? It’s been too long since I’ve been to the Zig Zag to see Murray, but to his name add Robbie McGrath’s, my main man at Matt’s in the Market.
Robbie McGrath pours a mean Bloody Mary (with a snit!), among other cocktails, at the bar at Matt’s in the Market.