Behind the Bar

Five Questions for the Bartender: Bryn Lumsden

"We are going through more eggs than Denny’s," says Rob Roy’s bar manager.

April 11, 2011


Rob Roy bar manager Bryn Lumsden was born in Everett, but moved to Ballard in 2001 where he fell for the music scene on Ballard Ave.

My mom even helped me make a fake ID so I could see Ryan Adams at the Tractor, says Lumsden. I still love Ballard, but have since given up on Ryan Adams.

A musician in his own right, Lumsden was one of the original Fleet Foxes. His first bartending gig, however, was at O Lounge in Queen Anne. My job was to bring in a younger crowd that would stay later into the night. Service and ambiance were all I could really offer—proper cocktails weren’t on my radar yet—but I learned that was enough to keep a room full and people happy, which made me happy.

Here we have five questions for Bryn Lumsden.

What is the most underrated spirit?

In the craft cocktail community, nothing is underrated at this point.

What’s your favorite Seattle bar (other than Rob Roy)?

Vito’s. Real bartenders, proper selection, cool room, no bunk. I was there a couple months ago while one of their piano players was having a birthday party. The room was packed with folks in their seventies wearing long fur coats and gobs of diamonds and makeup, taking turns singing Sinatra tunes. Time warp.

What drink do you order at that bar?

Justin [Gerardy]’s Judas Kiss is as good as a brown and bitter cocktail can be.

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

I’ve seen people drink right out of my water pitcher, bite into a garnishing orange like it was an apple, and yark into potted plants. To these folks I say: “thank you for coming, enjoy the rest of your evening.”

But worse than any of that is when guests who are much more lucid treat your bar like their living room. I’m talking about people who walk behind the bar, put their feet up on a table, and play videos on their smart phones with the volume cranked. To these folks I want to say: “Don’t you have a mother?”

Name three reasons you live in Seattle.

My family lives here so we are lucky enough to be able to get together pretty often.
Managing Rob Roy is a great opportunity for me and by far the most rewarding job I have had.
In my mind, Seattle is just a couple moves away from being a “big city.” It’s an exciting time to be here!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!SAUCED BONUS QUESTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What are your customers drinking a lot of these days?

Fizzes are really popular at Rob Roy. We are going through more eggs than Denny’s.


Show Comments