Walking the walk

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Shuttling back and forth between patrons for 11 years at the Hey Hey has felt sort of like walking on a treadmill for Pat Lewis.

That's because the bartender hiked the entire length of the Appalachian Trail, 2,175 miles from Maine to Georgia, and 1,250 miles on the Buckeye Trail before he came back to Columbus and joined the staff at this Prohibition-era German Village hangout.

What has walking in circles behind the bar done for him? Brought on another claim to fame: He's this year's Best Bartender in Columbus, as voted by Alive readers. We'll toast him at a party tonight with a $1,000 tip.

If someone wants to come in for a drink from the best bartender in town, what should they expect at Hey Hey?

The best thing about us, I think, is we're a neighborhood bar. We have people from 21 to 75. And they all get along, and it's quite a variety. I think that's the beauty of it, you know?

It's much bigger than people think. Back there is a stage, and every Thursday night there's blues.

Susan [an owner] is world-famous for her sauerkraut balls.

What's the best story you have from behind the bar?

I had people come to the door [at former bar Smitty's Frosty Mug] on a horse and ask if they could come in, and I let them in. And they were inside the bar, doing shots of tequila, sitting on their horse.

And the same day, people that had been out fishing brought in a snapping turtle, and they had a water snake, and there were a couple of dogs in here. I just remember it as animal day.

Why did that happen?

All in one day - that's the question. [Laughs.]

How do you think of yourself as a bartender?

As a good one for a neighborhood bar. Because ... I do know what's in Manhattans, but I don't have to make them.

What do people drink here?

Beers and shots of regular, straight stuff like Jager and bourbon.

What do you like to drink yourself?

Budweiser. And if I get talked into doing shots, it would be Cuervo.

Where do you like to go when you're not working?

I would recommend Easy Street for good food and Red Brick for another neighborhood bar. Barcelona for fancy food. This is a good neighborhood for drinkers ... because they're all right here within walking distance.