Best Bartender

Murray Stenson

The impact of the late-May bombshell that Murray Stenson was leaving Zig Zag after 10 years for RN74, a coup for Michael Mina's new restaurant at Fourth and Pike, was rivaled by the news last month that he'd be taking his talents to the Lobby Bar of the Pan Pacific Hotel in South Lake Union instead. He'll also consult there as he recovers from shoulder surgery. Wherever he's pouring (he's since left the Lobby Bar and landed at Canon on Capitol Hill), Stenson is a 'tender's 'tender, recognized by his peers as "Best Bartender in America" at last year's Tales of the Cocktail Festival in New Orleans and similarly honored in recent years by Playboy, GQ, and Esquire, among others. The cocktail trends of recent years? They're catching up with Murray, who has perfected classics, revived and popularized long-forgotten recipes, and created Northwest originals for more than three decades, including a long run at Il Bistro. Behind the bar, he's in complete control, managing packed houses with ease and economy, making every patron feel welcome and comfortable, and sharing an encyclopedic knowledge of his craft. And he's fast--his nickname, "Murr the Blur," is well-deserved. MICHAEL MAHONEY

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