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Behind the Bar at Meridian Pint

Drew Swift—who’s also worked at The Reef, Bedrock Billiards, and ChurchKey—likes Thursday nights and patient customers.

Photograph by Chris Leaman

For our Great Bars 2011 package, we talked with some of Washington's veteran tapmasters and cocktail makers to see what life is like on the other side of the bar.  

How to get a bartender’s attention: “Have your order organized in your head, have money or a credit card in your hand, wait patiently, and watch the bartender’s eyes. The worst thing that you can do is tap a credit card, knock your glass on the bar, whistle, or wave money in the air. I see that and I’m thinking, ‘I’m going to put that off for as long as humanly possible.’ ”

Pet peeves: “Don’t run your card every time you get a drink. Just start a tab—and remember to close it.”

Best tip: “A thousand bucks. I had four big oil guys from Texas come into the Reef. They bought the five people to the left of them and the five people to the right of them dinner and drinks. Everybody ordered steak.”

Favorite night of the week at the bar: “I like Thursdays. People are getting ready for the weekend. It’s busy but without the amateur hour of a Friday or Saturday night.”

Hangover cure: “A shot of Jameson.”

Memorable confessions: “I’ve heard them all: ‘I’m cheating on my spouse,’ ‘My spouse is cheating on me,’ ‘I’m in love with this person and they hate me.’ You are a therapist and a babysitter and a best friend rolled into one.”

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