Behind the bar

Five Questions for the Bartender: Marley Tomic-Beard

Who knew "I’m so wasted" was a bad thing to say while ordering drinks? Indispensable wisdom from the learned lady behind the bar at Spur.

June 7, 2010


Bartender Marley Tomic-Beard moved to Seattle from Boston after learning to craft cocktails at a bar called the Eastern Standard.

“It was one of the few bars at the time that mixed classics,” says Tomic-Beard. “I honed my skills and learned not only about mixology, but the history that went along with it.”

She moved to Seattle and picked up shifts at Belltown’s Bath Tub Gin and Licorous on Capitol Hill. While working, she met Anne Magoon and David Nelson of Spur, who hired her for a fulltime gig at the gastropub right across the street from Bathtub. You’ll find her there Sunday through Tuesday and on Friday nights. Every other Wednesday, she’s back mixing drinks at Bathtub Gin.

Here, five questions for Marley Tomic-Beard.

What is the most underrated spirit?

Rye is an underutilized spirit not because it isn’t well known in the restaurant industry, but because the public doesn’t seem to understand its historical significance. Many people don’t know that a Manhattan should always be made with rye (or that it’s the Great Grandfather to the vodka martini). Rye whiskey is an American invention and thanks to many bootleggers and their Canadian counterparts, Rye got us through the Great Drought and Prohibition.

What is your favorite Seattle bar?

Rob Roy is my bar of choice when I imbibe. I love the environment and the drinks are always delicious.

What drink do you order at the bar?

My classic standby, the Boulevardier [rye, Campari, and sweet vermouth].

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever seen do in a bar?

I have seen so many spectacles in my nights behind the stick but the most obnoxious has been customers who bluntly tell me how drunk they are as they order drinks. Usually they are already falling off their stools, but the nail in the coffin is when they say, “ I am so wasted, I’ll take a Jack and Coke.” Then they are offended when I refuse to serve them.

Name three reasons you live in Seattle.

Being a newcomer and seeing Seattle with fresh eyes, its beauty astounds me. That Seattle is broken into so many incredible neighborhoods is another reason I love it. It is great to be able to zip over to Phinney Ridge or Greenlake or Capitol Hill and get different experiences. Lastly, the food and drinking scene in Seattle is outstanding, there are so many options to choose from.

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