Mixologist: Keith Thompson of Surly Girl Saloon

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Years bartending: 10

Hometown: Logan

Neighborhood: Short North

How did you get into bartending?

I first started at Tapatio as a server, and I started bartending there shortly after. I bartended there for the last six years it was open, then I went to MoJoe Lounge for a year, and then I opened this place as the bar manager.

What's the best part about being a bartender?

I guess the casual atmosphere, and you get to be creative. Right now I'm experimenting with a bunch of different infusions. It's kind of fun and exciting trying to [entice] people to come in and keep everyone guessing what's coming next.

What drinks do you enjoy making?

Well, from working at Tapatio, I can make a pretty good margarita. I've made a million of them. Over the summer, we're going to be [featuring] a strawberry-rhubarb drink that's pretty good.

What would you be doing if you weren't bartending?

I don't really know. Probably relaxing. I think my dream job would be a resort critic, getting paid to hang out in resorts.

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

I frequent the Short North Tavern or Betty's. I normally stick in this neighborhood and give back the money. I like the staff at those places, too.

What do you like to drink?

Normally, just a vodka soda. In the winter, probably whiskey.

What makes Surly Girl different from other bars?

We're trying to be "green" as possible. We've started recycling everything behind the bar - glass, plastic, cans.

We're fortunate enough to have a parking lot, so we have a separate recycling Dumpster back here. It's nice. We work with a company and they have a whole catalog of stuff. It's pretty cool and it's nice to help out.

There's also a bunch of different things going on throughout the week. We do movies every third Monday of the month, punk-rock aerobics and open-mic comedy.

I don't know of any other places that do stuff like that around here. I'm not really up for the sand volleyball courts of Henderson Road or wherever those places are.

Do you think you could work at a place like that if you had to?

No [laughs].