Before there was Twitter or Facebook or Pinterest, people followed bartenders. Seriously. Bartenders were the original social connectors that knew the buzz of a neighborhood, knew the local gossip and remembered that all-important detail about you: your favorite drink.
In our little neck of the woods, that person is Beth. Former owner of the much-missed Green Room just around the corner, and mercenary beer-slinger around town, Beth brought her following with her to Besaw’s. When I first started working here and the customers didn’t know me, I’d sit down at the bar after work and strike up a conversation with whomever was beside me. More than once, my neighbor would avow that Beth is the finest bartender in Portland.
She’s one of those faces out-of-towners return to see. If you travel through Portland and are dining alone, Beth’s bar is always welcoming and warm (possibly because she insists on setting the thermostat somewhere between “Boiling” and “Hades”.) She’s soft-spoken and tall and graceful, blunt and authoritative when circumstances require, with a dazzling smile and bedroom eyes. She definitely has a following.
Our general manager, one of the most vocal lamenters of the Green Room’s demise, recalls spending unhealthy amounts of time there. Some days he’d be across the bar from Beth, waxing randomly about the Blazers or football; other times he’d be on a stool beside her, trying to elbow his way in on her crack-like addiction to the MegaTouch Luxor game. The neighborhood’s loss turned into a gain, as we successfully poached Beth to the Besaw’s crew.
Belly up to her bar sometime. She’ll make sure you feel like a regular.