Best music-affiliated Twin Cities bartenders 2012

Categories: Lists
Tony Zaccardi at Grumpy's NE.jpg
Photo by Cyn Collins
When you attend as many shows as the Gimme Noise folks do, you get to know your bartenders. Quite often, the person you see behind the bar is also a familiar face behind the bass, the guitar or drum kit. Among numerous musician and music-affiliated bartenders in this music city, here are a few I see regularly and consider to be the best in town -- in their music, music knowledge, network-building skills, as well as their mad skills mixing drinks, and encyclopaedic knowledge behind the bar.

Here are five of the Twin Cities' most crowd-pleasing bartenders, no matter the setting. 

Shon Troth serving at Cause.jpg
Photo by Cyn Collins
Shön Phillip Troth
Bartender/server at Cause Spirits and Soundbar

Musician: Lap-steel guitar player and "guy who makes creepy sounds in the back" for Enemy Planes, Dream Crusher, Deceitful Lapwings, American North, White Bronco (a new band in the works) and more!

What do you like about working at Cause?

Shön Troth: I pick up shifts - so it's something different every time. Sometimes bartending, sometimes serving, sometimes the door. It's home, to me.

What's your favorite drink to make?

Pimm's Cup. I like to muddle. And I like bitters.

What is your approach to bartending?

It's making everybody feel like they're at their fave place or like they're at home. It can be their place to disappear. I like to make them feel like it's their bar.

What do you feel is the connectivity between being a musician and bartending?

I think its cool because everybody follows each other, visits each other... like Solid Gold talks about me working at Nick and Eddie in the past. Its nice to visit friends where they work. I visit Cecil at Muddy Waters... It's a communal thing. Communal is really the word for it. All of us are doing it. We're promoting each other's shows while we're bartending. Being a musician and bartender go hand-in-hand.

Who is White Bronco?

That hasn't happened yet. It will soon. We're waiting for a call from Phillip Morris, to find out when he comes back to town. He's in it. It's also Sean Anonymous and Lizzo (The Chalice), and guys in Dream Crusher - Dominic Hanft, Mo McNichols, Brian McDonough, Brock Lammers and Mitch Miller. We are all writing songs together, rather than only one person.

Deceitful Lapwings at Cause, Wednesday, December 19 at 9 p.m.

Enemy Planes at Rock The Cause 5th Anniversary Bash: A Careless Whisper! A Tribute to George Michael and WHAM! At the Crooked Pint Ale House December 21 at 9 p.m.

Jonathan Kennedy at Palmer's.jpg
Photo by Cyn Collins
Jonathan Kennedy
Bartender, Sound and Booking at Palmer's Bar
Programming Host of KFAI The Minnesota Sound Fridays 7-9 p.m.

Guitarist/bass-player/horns Mr. Hide and Fortified Five and Richard Lloyd Trio

When do you bartend at Palmer's and what do you like about it?

Thursdays I bartend and do sound simultaneously and booking. I sometimes bartend other nights. I want to make Thursdays the cool night for music. The hours are pretty cool. I don't have to get here until 9 p.m. and we close at 2 a.m., so I can stay up all night and do my thing. Its fun working at Palmer's because it's kind of a central spot. We do have music but it's known more as a bar, so when we do have music, it's more special. While I'm bartending, I get to meet local musicians and the shows just kind of set themselves up because people want to play here and it happens pretty naturally.

Have you had any favorite bartending moments?

When Nick the Feelin' advanced on The Voice to the top three, Lisa [Hammer] had me make shots for the bar -- so that was 23 shots at once. That was an exciting challenge! They were Water Moccasins -- Crown Royal, Peach Schnapps and pineapple juice.

[Note: Nick "the Feelin'" Mrozinski played weekly Sundays at Palmer's for two to three years.]

What's your favorite drink to make?

I like making Bloody Marys. We don't have a mix and so I have to make them on the spot. There are like five or six things we have here to add, like real horseradish, Louisiana hot sauce, lots of types of vodka, but Absolut Peppar works really well with it. Pickle juice, Worcestershire sauce and black pepper for a garnish. That's a fun one, except when it's too busy, then it can be kind of annoying, so it's got to be like the right time.

What's the status of Mr. Hide and Fortified Five, and Mr. Lloyd Trio?

Fortified Five are getting back together! Friday at the Turf Club is going to be our return show. Mr. Hide hasn't been playing many shows, but in January we have five or six shows. The Richard Lloyd Trio is on hiatus for now. We might tour in March, but its up in the air. It was fun playing with him this summer. It was a really cool experience. He has so much history. He knows everyone and has been everywhere. And he's got a body of work to show for it too. We learned 50-60 songs and that was just scratching the surface. A really cool guy!

Megapocalypto Freakin' Jamboree 2012! Fe: Moonstone Continuum, Fortified Five, Larry Wish and His Guys, Miami Dolphins and Montgomery Ward at Turf Club December 21, 2012 at 9

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