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Madison Monday

Madison Monday: My husband the bartender

By August 8, 2011One Comment
This weekend in Madison my lovely husband re-entered the food service industry, after a considerable gap of 30 or so years, by bartending at the 605 Grille. No, folks, this is not what he does for a living. His real job is teaching history to college students. Which job would you prefer? I think people sitting at the bar might actually be more interested in history than many college students. It’s probably the beer.

Kevin, the cat, pretending to be a bar
patron at home in the kitchen

I’m not exactly sure how it came about that he bartended this weekend. There were, of course, beers involved. Also, I think perhaps the purchase of a couple of stools in our own kitchen to sit in front of the lovely kitchen island our friend made for us months ago played a part. The island was always supposed to have stools in front of it. That was kind of the whole point. But the quest for the perfect stool got in the way of the good of actually having a stool (a classic example of perfect being the enemy of good), and so for months we’ve gone without. And then on our last trip to Target, I pointed to the two $20 stools and said, “Let’s just get those.”
As I’ve written on here before, there is something very satisfying about bars. And I think my husband liked the feeling of standing behind the kitchen island and asking me and our daughter what we’d like to drink. Also, he really liked wiping up after us with the kitchen towel. His favorite part of bartending…wiping down the bar. And maybe washing the dishes. Can you see why I love him?

The good folks at 605 were short staffed this weekend, and so the weekend before, after consuming a few beers, my husband stepped behind their bar and said, “Let me see how this feels.” And so the idea of the celebrity bartender was born. Originally, I think it was guest bartender (and my husband isn’t the first person to guest bartend at the 605), but he preferred the title celebrity. Who wouldn’t?

On Friday night for his debut, we packed the bar. Which kind of meant it was just like being at home, only there was a wider selection of beer and wine than normal to choose from, and my husband didn’t actually have to cook the food. Just serve it to us.

On Saturday night, my stepdaughter and I sat at a table within shouting distance of the bar (no kids in the bar area, of course), and I mused, “What a perfect night. Drinking a beer with my girl while your dad’s bartending.” My stepdaughter giggled and added, “Yeh, while dad’s working.”

Mastering the pour

The feedback on his bartending experiences was positive. The owners claimed there were many compliments on his service. And I’m not surprised. He’s a generally friendly guy, a nice contrast to my, well, we sometimes call it, prickliness. Obviously, we spend a lot of time at the 605 and are quite grateful to have them around, so it was good to be able to help them out. When you ask people what community means, helping each other out is often at the top of the list. It’s good to know that that can still be true in Madison.

Alas, my husband did not learn how to operate the cappuccino maker, a much more complicated device than the beer taps, so we will not be able to break in and make ourselves cappuccino’s on Saturday mornings…yet.

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