Belly Up: Tim Stover of IndeBleu
Belly Up interviews our favorite bartenders around town. Got a bartender you think we should interview? Email candrews at washingtonian.com.
Want to see more photos from Washington events and parties? Click here for Washingtonian.com's photo slideshow page.
The bar’s cocktail menu is a replica of the Metrorail map, with a different liquor theme for each subway line. Champagne fanatics can board the Orange Line and enjoy stops like Peach Slap—Champagne with peach liqueur, and Arctic Circle, Parrot Bay coconut rum, Hypnotiq, and Champagne with a white-chocolate rim. The Bleu Line, which comprises house cocktails such as the favorite blackberry mojito, is one of the, um, busiest.
In between stops, we got a chance to sit down for an interview with IndeBleu bartender and Maine native Tim Stover. Here’s what he had to say about his favorite drink, Prince’s visit to IndeBleu, and the unexpected displays of nudity at the lounge.
When did you start bartending?
I got into the restaurant business through my older brother and sister, who were running a place back home. Then I moved to Florida and lived there for a couple years before returning home to New England to go to college. Once I started bartending, I just really enjoyed it and stayed with it. I’ve now been bartending for 12 years here in DC.
What made you decide to tend bar at IndeBleu?
I was just excited about this place’s potential. I’d heard a lot about what they were trying to do and the environment and product they were creating, and I was attracted to it. So I jumped at the opportunity.
You’ve been bartending in the city since age 27. What’s different about IndeBleu?
It has more of a nightclub feel, especially on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, so it entails a different style of bartending. It’s also a more wide-open scene than most places with an anything-can-go attitude, which is fun.
In terms of the clientele, is IndeBleu a destination bar or local hangout spot?
I think it’s both, in spite of the size of the place. We attract a lot of neighborhood people here in Penn Quarter because all these apartment buildings have started to fill up and the people have made it their regular, local place. It’s definitely a destination spot, whether it’s people going to events at the Verizon Center or just coming into the area for the weekend. We also get a lot of tourists.
Does the bar have a signature drink?
I would say the blackberry mojito and the mangotini. I’m pretty certain that we started the blackberry-mojito trend.
What’s the most requested drink right now?
Besides vodka Red Bull drinks and shots, which are always popular on weekends, everyone is into the mojitos—just the regular mojitos.
Do you have a favorite drink?
The blue rickey. It’s essentially a lime rickey made with lime, gin fizz, and Tanqueray No. Ten.
What about your favorite drink to make?
If I were to make a drink right now, I think I’d enjoy making some type of margarita. Maybe a raspberry margarita. We seem to be making a lot of those here.
Has anyone ever attempted to “ride” an entire “subway line” from your cocktail menu?
I think people might have fantasized about it, but most people get distracted. Once it gets busy in here, there are too many distractions and people lose track of where they were in a line.
Do you have a favorite line?
I think it’s the Orange Line, which is the Shot Line. It’s the easiest for me to get through.
Any interesting anecdotes you want to share?
Too many, but I think one of the most interesting nights at IndeBleu was the night Prince rented the place out. It was just him and 25 people—very low-key, but it went on from midnight to 6 AM. It was interesting.
Did you get to meet Prince?
Briefly. He was quiet and self-contained. As the night was ending, it was only him, his security team, and me, basically. At one point, he moved to the bar and ordered a Grey Goose vodka and orange juice. I served it to him, and he had a one-word response: “Stronger.” That was it. That was my exchange with Prince.
Strangest thing that’s happened to you while tending bar?
It’s weird to feel like I’m getting blasé about it, but I’ve seen a lot nudity in here. There’s been a lot of body painting and voluntary nudity from some of the guests. That’s always strange—although at this point I’m used to it, so it doesn’t affect me anymore.