firstcall.branzino.JPG
A weekly food-blog feature in which we walk into a bar unannounced and ask the bartender to make us his or her favorite drink.

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First Call: Branzino's Bartender Dispenses Irish Coffee and Pimps Out Her Coworkers

firstcall.branzino.JPG
A weekly food-blog feature in which we walk into a bar unannounced and ask the bartender to make us his or her favorite drink.

Locale: Branzino, 2429 Second Ave., 728-5181. BELLTOWN

Bartender: Shawn Reilly

Getting Seattleites drunk since: Oh god... forever. Probably before you were born.

I seriously doubt that. But let's make a cocktail, Shawn!

I actually just made an Irish coffee and it smelled really good. So I'm gonna say that's my favorite drink. I usually drink that or Maker's on the rocks, anyway.

Wow, this tastes like an Americano... except I feel like the booze is going to creep up on me in a few minutes.

Oh, it will. It's Irish whiskey, espresso, and fresh whipped cream. It's a latte for grown ups -- great way to start the day!

Ah! The breakfast of champions. How sweet would that be to stumble out of bed and drink this instead of a mocha?

Laughs. Somebody always wants to drink. That's why I became a bartender. You can find work no matter where you go.

Sort of like doctors.

Exactly. Except you don't have to work as much and you can take more vacation.

I'm sure you can't take too much time off these days though, given that your chef is a television star. (Branzino's chef Ashley Merriman is currently a competitor on Bravo reality show Top Chef.)

You know what's funny? We had to keep that such a big secret in-house while they recorded the show for six weeks. We told people that Ashley was visiting family -- which is a ridiculous lie. Six weeks? Really? Who likes their family that much?

Well, it's not a secret anymore.

No. But none of us know what's going to happen on the show! She's not allowed to talk about it. Whenever we ask her anything about it, she says, 'I don't know what you're talking about.' Besides, you really can't tell bartenders anything. We have big mouths. [Ed. note: Not that big, since Merriman finally admitted publicly that she is leaving her exec chef position at Branzino.]

I'm sure she'll go far though. I really hope her personality comes out on the show. She's so gifted. She's funny, sweet, and hardcore all at the same time. And her food's amazing.

The food does look amazing. And I'm going to address the elephant in the room and say that the staff also looks amazing -- like ridiculously good looking.

I know, right? There are people I've known for 10 years who come in here for a drink. And they don't come to see me, they come to check out the server who looks like Uma Thurman. Even our dishwasher is cute! What's great is that they're pretty, but they aren't stupid. They're great at their jobs.

Beauty and brains. Impressive combo.

It's a great place to work.

I believe it. Thanks for the coffee, m'lady.

Of course. Come see us again! And by the way, check out the bus boy over there.

 
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