What a year for the Zig Zag Cafe. First bartender Murray Stenson is named Best Bartender in America at Tales of the Cocktail. Then Kevin Sintumuang, who compiled GQ’s list of top 25 bars in America, makes Zig Zag his pick for the number one cocktail bar in America. Did you catch that? Best cocktail bar in America. As in, all of it.
The feature appeared in the October issue of GQ, the one with Ryan Reynolds on the cover. Tavern Law’s upstairs bar, Needle and Thread, came in at number 25—not bad at all for a youngin’. In between were such lauded establishments as The Violet Hour in Chicago (#3), Death and CO, PDT, and the Pegu Club in New York (#6, #7, and #22), and Drink in Boston (#21).
And Sintumuang spends his Zig Zag write-up extolling Murray. “The man is effortlessly talented, a bartender superhero,” he says. He describes Stenson’s work station as “five drink racks. About twelve bottles in each. Artfully tiered from floor to torso, like a medieval organ powered by Dubonnet, kirsch, and Tuaca. If you think any ordinary bartender could play such an instrument, you’d be wrong.”
I agree entirely. Almost. “Effortlessly talented” belies the decades of experience the guy brings to the job. But it’s a small point with which to quibble. The important thing is that Zig Zag kicks ass, and the entire country has taken notice. Prepare to fight for your barstool.