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Best of Olympia 2012 Food & Drink: Best Bartender - Andy Geertsen

Weekly Volcano readers name The Eastside Club Tavern bartender the best in Olympia

ANDY GEERTSEN: Olympia's Best Bartender prefers to think of himself as a beer tender. Photo credit: Patrick Snapp

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I arrive at Andy Geertsen's home for our interview. McTuff Trio, a Seattle-based jazz-soul band, is playing in the background, and Geertsen is busy scrubbing dishes. His giant Rottweiler, Ozzy, greets me by sticking his snout in my hand, and I pat his fluffy back. Geertsen's kitchen table is scattered with his five-year-old daughter's paintings, and a small stack of promo CDs that the beloved Olympia bartender undoubtedly picked up while working at The Eastside Club Tavern in downtown Olympia, where he tends bar and books shows.

Geertsen was overwhelmingly voted "Best Bartender" by Volcano readers in this year's Best of Olympia Readers Poll.

"I didn't think I could even be considered, it's not like I mix drinks," says Geertsen.

"I'm a beer tender, not a bartender," he laughs.

Geertsen has been beer-tending at The Eastside for nearly 10 years, and has been booking shows there for five.

Those years of experience have seasoned Geertsen into quite the knowledgeable drinker and connoisseur. The Eastside has over 40 beers on tap, and Geertsen can give you an easy description of any of them.

What's his favorite on tap right now?

"Cabin Fever," he says, "It's a winter ale - dark red, complex, malty and strong."

Geertsen says his favorite thing about working at The Eastside is the customers.

"They're easy to please, and they're nice, regular people," he says with admiration.

Mike Cousino frequents The Eastside and is a fan of Geertsen.

"Geertsen is warm and friendly and always acknowledges me, so it makes it more fun and interesting to be at the bar," says Cousino.

A part of what makes Geertsen such a great bartender is his ability to present beer choices based on intuition and experience.

"I enjoy introducing beer to people, rather than just saying, ‘What do you want?" says Geertsen. "About half of my customers don't pick their own beer."

Another part of Geertsen's appeal is he helps facilitate the ambiance of the bar. Besides his expertise and swiftness behind the counter, Geertsen books every band that comes through the door at The Eastside.

"It's taken five years of networking and finding out what shows people will come to," says Geertsen. "Sometimes the bands don't make that much money, but the crowd is what makes them come back. They genuinely appreciate the music."

If you haven't had the pleasure of Geertsen serving you a fabulous beer while some killer indie band plays in the background, I suggest you get down to The Eastside. Stat.

[The Eastside Club Tavern, 410 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia, 360.357.9985]

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Comments for "Best of Olympia 2012 Food & Drink: Best Bartender - Andy Geertsen" (3)

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Lynda Lobo said on Feb. 23, 2012 at 10:25am

Yay! Andy is the best!

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Ben Jammin said on Feb. 27, 2012 at 6:48pm

The Eastside just rewarded Andy for winning Best Bartender by firing him. Please join us in boycotting the Eastside Club...

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Mr. E? said on Apr. 03, 2012 at 4:55pm

Don't boycott the Eastside!! They did the right thing. I'd rather see a person get let go for their actions than the whole place get shut down.

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