Bartender: Pants at Backstage Bistro

Jesse Tigges, Columbus Alive

How did you get the nickname "Pants?"

There are so many stories behind that. The quick one, the one I tell folks when I'm behind the bar, is that I got drunk at a party one time and decided to wear my pants for a hat.

But what actually happened was I got drunk at a party one time and got really obsessed with the word "pants." Have you ever said a word so often that it loses any sort of semantic connotation? And it's just a really good word if you say it over and over. I decided everyone was going to call me Pants. The next day I woke up and everyone continued to call me that.

How did you become the mayor of Washington Beach? Is that an official title?

As so far as Washington Beach is a neighborhood, it's official. Six years ago we got bored and started making campaign videos on the internet. Then we had an election party, and everyone showed up assuming I won. It was one of those questionable elections, but since we don't have a standing military in Washington Beach, nobody put up much of a fuss.

Will there be another election?

We got busy four years ago, so we decided the elections will be every six years. We're just making more videos now for my re-reelection campaign. There aren't any opponents yet, but we're looking forward to it; anything to broaden the political discourse on issues seriously addressing Washington Beach.

How did you amass all of the interesting facts you know?

I've spent a somewhat unhealthy amount of time reading about drinks and the history of drinks. I think it's really cool, and I think people appreciate the stories. Everyone loves a good story, and if you're here at the bar, you probably like drinking, too.

Can you tell me one?

A rum and Coke is traditionally called a Cuba Libre. It dates back to the Spanish-American War, when we helped free Cuba from the Spanish government. There was a bar that concocted this drink to celebrate the alliance. They took rum, which is traditionally Cuban, and Coca-Cola, which is the ultimate American drink, and put them together. The name means "a free Cuba," which is cool considering our volatile relationship with Cuba now.

Backstage Bistro

503 S. Front St., Brewery District


John "Pants" Hribar

Hometown: Wheeling, West Virginia

Neighborhood: Washington Beach (for newbies, an enclave near North Campus)

Years bartending: 6

Age: 28