21 Run 101: Advice from the bartenders

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Stella Crumpton, a bartender at Rico’s Public House, on Monday.

LAUREN ELLENBECKER, Mint columnist

Dispersed throughout Pullman, there are various types of bars that satisfy every alcohol-loving person’s needs. Every one of these bars has something unique that makes it special from the others, but all of these venues share one particular thing in common – the well-known Coug spirit.

But first, in order to have a deeper understanding of the liveliness behind WSU’s drinking scene, it is essential to recognize the bartenders who actually make the beverages.

There are several factors that contribute to someone’s positive experience in a bar, but the basic foundation to having a fun time is consuming a memorable and tantalizing drink – it also helps if it’s alcoholic.

At Valhalla Bar & Grill, a favorite drink to make among the bartenders is called the “Tea Rock,” a tequila-based drink with a pineapple twist.

But, the unique drinks keep coming, especially in Rico’s Public House.

“A drink we’re pretty known for here is a ‘Duck Fart,’ ” bartender Stella Crumpton said.

For those of you who are curious, the Duck Fart is layered with Kahlua, Bailey’s Irish Cream and whiskey – giving the final product an aesthetically appealing appearance, something its name may not hint at.

When it comes to popularity, sometimes the simplest drinks are the best. At The Coug, this is exactly the case, where Eric Bjerkestrand said beer is the most popular drink.

After patrons have a few too many “Duck Farts,” wild cocktails or beer, bartenders can usually tell when someone is in over their head.

“We are taught beforehand what we should look for when cutting someone off,” Tashiara Payne from Valhalla said, “like body language and glossy eyes – things like that.”

If someone needs to slow down, bartenders will nicely approach them with water and ask them to stop by later if they still want a beer or mixer. If they don’t comply, a bouncer may have to escort the intoxicated person out of the bar.

Although things may get a little hectic, Pullman’s dedicated bartenders continue to stick around because they find their jobs fun and rewarding. Payne and Bjerkestrand both said the best thing about being bartenders is the fact that they are able to meet so many new people, each with their own stories to tell.

“I really enjoy seeing people have a fun time – especially with alcohol,” Payne said.

These bartenders in Pullman have several positive things to say about their job, but a common downside is the unique work schedule. As a bartender, it is common knowledge that you have to be flexible with your hours because either you’ll be closing late at night or opening early.

“There really aren’t any (drawbacks to the job),” Payne said, “besides the occasional guy trying to hit on you, but this is actually one of the best jobs I’ve had.”

All in all, it is guaranteed that in an energetic bar, you are destined to approach a bartender with an expressive personality and a special love for their job. With knowledge of what bartenders do and how they think, Pullman residents are guaranteed to appreciate their favorite bar just a little more.

Lauren Ellenbecker is a freshman studying communication from Anchorage, Alaska. She can be contacted at mint@dailyevergreen.com.