It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the bartenders in the Columbus area. I couldn’t be more proud or appreciative of their dedication to the craft and their ability to mix amazing cocktails. I respect our area bartenders so much that I (along with partner Blair) created the Columbus Craft Cocktail Tour and Behind The Stick (bartending/mixology competition show) to shine a light on talented local bartenders.  In all my tributes, however, I have failed to sing the praises of the dedication our bartenders have to the art of hospitality. It’s not that I haven’t noticed or that I don’t think it important, I do, very much, in fact, a rude or inattentive bartender is worse than a shaken Manhattan; I can order a new drink but I can’t change an attitude. I have many examples of exemplary hospitality that I’ve personally experienced in our town but in the interest of time and space, I’ll share a few of the most recent.

On our “Downtown” Craft Cocktail Tour we were at our second stop, Salt & Pine, enjoying a cocktail and snack specially prepared by the bar manager in collaboration with the chef. Being fairly new to cocktail tour hosting, we forgot to ask about food aversions. As it turned out, the carefully crafted cocktail was thoughtfully prepared with a delicious seafood dish that our pregnant guest could not and another guest would not eat. Upon learning this and without blinking an eye, the chef prepared a beautiful charcuterie board for our seafood adverse guests. As we enjoyed the venue, it began to rain. I brought three umbrellas but we had ten guests. The staff kindly raided the lost and found and loaned us two umbrellas. We set off to our final destination, Sidebar 122, which is only a few blocks away. In our short walk, the wind was blowing and we all got pretty soaked. As we walked through the door at Sidebar, the owner was standing at the bar where our seats awaited us with towels so that everyone could dry off.  She handed out the towels like a shower attendant at the spa. After amazing cocktails and food, the tour ended. Some of our guests stayed at Sidebar for dinner and the rest, a bachelorette party, followed us back to our first stop, Blind Lady Tavern. They enjoyed BLT so much that they wanted to end the night there. Our remaining guests were greeted by the owner who broke out the punch bowl and made a special cocktail just for them.

In speaking to the bar manager of Sidebar a few days later, I expressed my gratitude and pride in how our guests were treated. His reply summed up how I think most of the hard working folks in Columbus’ hospitality industry approach every customer “we want every guest to feel special and to feel like they got their money’s worth.” Mission accomplished.