Mixologist: Vivian Loh of Nida's Thai on High

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Neighborhood: Short North

Hometown: New York

Years behind the bar: 4

How did you get into bartending?

I started in New York. I partied a lot and drank a lot, so I figured why not go behind the scenes and try it out? I worked at a really small lounge and it was always really packed. It was just slinging drinks - really fast-paced, really high volume.

At Nida's, this is more of a creative outlet.

Why did you move to Columbus?

It was hard to concentrate on school in New York because of all the drinking and dancing. Ohio State is a great school, so I came here to be with my brother and go back to school.

Have you traveled anywhere else?

I've lived in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Connecticut and New York. I also did a stint in the Bay Area.

I still do a lot of traveling. I spent some time in New Orleans and I just got back from the Bahamas. They are all near the water, similar to the coasts I grew up on.

What's it like being landlocked here?

The first eight months were hard. But I'm in a great neighborhood and I've met a lot of really great people. People are really friendly here.

Do your travels influence the drink menu here?

A lot of the menu is inspired by Asian flavors, but I also try to make it accessible to the palate. We also use a lot of ginger in our drinks since it's such an integral part of Asian cooking.

Where do you get a drink?

I go everywhere - Bodega, Mac's, Bernard's, Short North Tavern. I'm obsessed with chicken wings, so I love Roosters.

What do you drink?

I love brown ales, Scottish ales, Irish ales. I think it's absurd that we have this big-d--- contest over who can put the most hops in their ales.

In terms of wines, I love a good sauvignon blanc from Marlboro, New Zealand. We just got one on our menu and I love it. It's what I go straight to on a nice summer night.

If you could have a drink with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

Anthony Bourdain. We could just talk about food and drink a lot and smoke a lot of cigarettes.

Is there a Columbus bartender you'd like to meet in Mixologist? E-mail jtigges@columbusalive.com