Best Bartender St. Louis 2013 - Nate Kromat, The Scottish Arms
The Scottish Arms boasts the most expansive and impressive collection of whiskey in Missouri, but it all would be for naught without the expert, the mixologist, the innovator, the person who takes the whiskey and delivers it to the people with a special acuity. At Scottish Arms, that person is Nate Kromat. After recently arriving from Sanctuaria, Kromat has employed his love of concocting unique libations to rework the cocktail menu, crafting a tight, sharp list. But the guy can also extemporaneously whip up a drink to fit your mood, plus explain all the subtle nuances that contribute to the final product. Not to mention the guy often dons a full-on kilt and sports what surely must be one of the finest beards in all of St. Louis. He just looks the part (rumor has it that a new drink, "The Brilliantly Bearded Man," will serve as a homage). Kromat's careful attention to detail combined with a laid-back, welcoming personality fits in seamlessly with the rustic mellowness of the Scottish Arms. We advise grabbing a seat at the bar and ordering whatever the hell Kromat suggests.
RFT, please respond here, This has not been a cool choice, and a little response would be helpful. Otherwise, Flynn gets no cash. Your move.
Biggest issue I have is that the most important trait in a good bartender is hospitality, and Nate doesn't get that. He's often gruff, rude and dismissing. RFT has zero cred at this point anyway. All the good writers have fled.
Uh... Is this not the bartender they hired a few months ago? The one that can't quite pronounce most of the malts correctly? Yes, it is. "....but it all would be for naught without..." the other employees that have been working hard on making the Arms a great place for years. This is not just a strange and uninformed pick, it is just dumb (e.g.: a bourbon and coke does not the mixologist make). (Disclaimer: Not an Arms employee, just one of many annoyed by this Platonic ideal of what the Scots call a preening "Lord Muck" because he takes shifts from better bartenders.)
Yep, did an informal survey of ~20 people and no one gets this choice at all. My sample size comprises patrons of similar establishments far and wide. The slow clap that attends these comments are in honor of the passing of Ian from these pages (Sounds like a non-sequitor, but this seems in keeping with the overall degradation of food culture coverage here since that movement toward emeritus status). Keep it classy RFT.
I went a bit longitudinal here with follow-up surveys and did standard testing for inter-rater reliability. Statistically speaking (given the logistic regression here that includes brevity of employment as a confounding variable), this is not the Arms most favored malt mule. And the beard is also iffy. One respondent actually found it "derivative."
@Policynerd Yeah, so this particular paragraph above has now made the STL rounds, and exit polls all indicate that this just isn't working. Everyone pretty much wants to know exactly why and or how this choice was made as no one can make any sense out of it. So... let us know RFT why this oddball cock-up has soured our beloved RFT annuals. No... seriously... what is the deal here? In the past the best bartender slot has worked well. Much grumblings.
Last minute qualitative reports from three diiferent people indicate that this dude can't say "Bunnahabhain." Basic sniff test there. The entire population of the inner Hebrides just rolled its feckin eyes. Keep your eyes on the ball, mate. Innit?