Sarah Tate of Mad Rose
Arlington is certainly a change of pace for a girl from Bozeman, Montana, but Sarah Tate of Mad Rose Tavern is always up for a challenge. In addition to her shifts at Mad Rose, the energetic blue-eyed bartender has a full time gig downtown and is going to school at night. We need a cocktail just thinking about it.
On Tap: Where are you from?
Sarah Tate: Originally Bozeman, Montana.
ST: Haha. I know. Bozeman, Montana. I moved here nine years ago.
OT: How long have you been bartending?
ST: I’ve been at Mad Rose for one year in August, six years bartending in Arlington and 15 years bartending total. My family owned bars growing up. Once I turned 18, it was like, “Okay, here is the bottle, get behind the bar and learn about it.”
OT: Where can you be found when you are not working?
ST: Working or doing schoolwork. I work full time for the DOD. I am back in school now pursuing a completely different career path—Nursing.
OT: Wow, that’s a lot of work!
ST: It’s my first year back, so it’s hard to get used to the schoolwork. I’ve still got three years to go! I work 9-5 in the government job, I study on weeknights, and work here on weekends. I’m barely able to lift my head off the couch by the time Sunday rolls around. But it’s worth it. It’s worth it to me.
Catch Sarah behind the bar Friday and Saturday nights at Mad Rose Tavern.
One part cool outdoor lounge, one part neighborhood beer pub, Mad Rose Tavern’s reputation has slowly but surely been spread through word of mouth. Every weekend brings in new faces that become regulars. When the weather gets really nice it’s a great spot. The retractable window creates instant additional outdoor seating. Pork tacos and beef sliders are popular happy hour snacks to complement the happy hour drinks (til 8 p.m.!).
Mad Rose Tavern: 3100 Clarendon Blvd. Arlington VA; 703-600-0500; www.madrosetavern.com
Sophie Szych of Virtue Feed & Grain
Sophie Szych brings a fresh smile and true curiosity for learning to the Restaurant Eve family. After almost a year at Virtue Feed and Grain, this Massachusetts native continues to brush up on the latest hoptails, the best beer pairings, and more. She enjoys few things as much as lounging on the hammock in her backyard.
On Tap: How did you get into bartending?
Sophie Szych: I was serving at Majestic and had the opportunity to start bartending. You’d have to be a crazy person to pass up the opportunity to work for Todd Thrasher.
OT: Can you describe the “regular crowd”?
SS: It’s a very eclectic mix. You have people who come in and want to talk for hours about beers because they know so much. And then you have someone sit down to ask you to show them something new. You get to teach and learn here.
OT: When did you first get into craft beers?
SS: Galaxy Hut a few years ago. I started ordering the off-the-wall stuff. Craft beers have such an awesome backstory to them. There is much more to drinking them than just drinking them.
OT: How do you decide what beers to feature?
SS: We try to stay local whenever possible. Just the other night we featured the Oyster Stout; it was gone in 90 minutes.
OT: What is your favorite drink to make?
SS: I like to make the pomegranate fizz hoptail. It’s a process but it’s really rewarding. People appreciate when you take the time to make it just right.
Catch Sophie behind the bar Wednesday through Saturday nights at Virtue Feed and Grain.
With roots in Old Towne, the owners of Majestic, Eamonn’s and PX saw huge potential in the former Olsen’s bookstore venue. Now open as Virtue Feed and Grain, a new take on the American tavern, they showcase hoptails (beer mixed drinks) and an extensive beer list. The vintage décor and wide open windows on the top floor make it a prime destination in Alexandria. Stop in to try something new; the well-versed bartenders are ready to help you find just the right beer.
Virtue Feed & Grain: 106 S. Union St. Alexandria, VA; 571-970-3669; www.virtuefeedandgrain.com
Zach Myers moved to DC from Philly in 2001. He worked at many cool beer bars around town before helping to open Meridian Pint nearly two years ago. As a neighborhood resident himself, his presence helps to reinforce the sense of community.
On Tap: You’ve been with Meridian Pint since it opened, how’d it get it’s start?
Zach Myers: John saw a gap in the market for a good bar that focused on beer, specifically American Beer. He wanted to do something in Columbia Heights, and took a few years to make sure it was just right. At least a third of our beers come from within a 60 mile range.
OT: How often do you change the taps out?
ZM: All the time. We reprint the menu 3-4 times a week to keep things updated. I’d say we get 6-8 new beers each week.
OT: What is the best part about working here?
ZM: The people. The colleagues. The exposure to great beer that I wouldn’t be able to otherwise drink. I live in the neighborhood so it’s nice to be able to walk to work too.
OT: Where can you be found when you are not working?
ZM: On my couch, 90 percent of the time. The other 10% of the time, my lady and me like to try out new restaurants.
OT: Where do you go for a good beer when you aren’t here?
ZM: The Big Hunt. It’s a good mix of people, a place for all us beer nerds to feel comfortable.
Catch Zach weekend nights and Tuesday in the basement bar at Meridian Pint.
Meridian Pint opened only two years ago. What started out as “the bar with the taps on the table” has grown to become a weekend destination for all walks of life. On the patio, you can enjoy a nice night and good conversation. Upstairs, plenty of tables make for a delicious Americana dining experience, and downstairs the TVs and bar games shout “good time”. Their dedication to local resources is evident everywhere, from the monthly Home Brewer competitions to the locally sourced food.
Meridian Pint: 3400 11th St. NW, DC; 202-588-1073; www.meridianpint.com