Off-duty bartender Chris Madsen enjoys a Rainier tallboy at Rory’s in Edmonds. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Off-duty bartender Chris Madsen enjoys a Rainier tallboy at Rory’s in Edmonds. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Rory’s bartender loves his regulars — especially his in-laws

Chris Madsen has a wife and two kids, thanks to his job at this Edmonds watering hole.

Bartender Chris Madsen loves his job of eight years at Rory’s in Edmonds — and not just because he says the management takes good care of employees and most of the customers are regulars who live nearby.

Madsen, 35, fell in love with a woman he met at a Mariners game. Then he found out she was the daughter of two Rory’s regulars who had been trying to set him up with her.

That’s why Madsen calls Rory’s “by far is the best I’ve ever worked at.”

Here, he talks about memorable experiences during his bartending career, and more about that fortuitous love connection.

How did you get into bartending?

My first job was bussing tables at Red Robin at age 16. Then you get noticed by management, and they add more and more responsibility.

So when was your first bartending job?

The first time was at Claim Jumpers (at Alderwood) when I was 21.

What kind of bartender are you?

Every guest is kind of a different experience. I like to remember what people drink. I might not know your name, but I typically remember your face and remember what you like to drink.

Tell me more about that.

The first week I was at Rory’s, I served a Budweiser to this lady waiting for the ferry. (When she returned to the bar 1½ years later) I opened a Budweiser and sat it in front of her. She said, “How did you know that?” I said, “I figured that was what you still drink.” She tipped me $100.

She gave you $100 tip?

Yes, for one beer.

Have there been times when you’ve had to intervene in fights?

Yes, that happens occasionally. I’ve been hit by a guest before. This was New Year’s Eve probably six years ago. (The group had) too much partying. They didn’t get served in our bar. They weren’t well enough to be served. We asked them to leave. The guy thought it was appropriate to put his hands on me.

OK, how about some fun stories?

I left Rory’s about four years ago and moved to Arizona. I needed to get away for a little while. It was my birthday/going-away party. The love and support I was given from staff and community was really touching.

But you came back?

Yes, it was a little break from the Northwest. It ended up being good. I came home, met my wife, Alexandra Madsen, and now we have two beautiful girls. All things happen for a reason.

Tell me more about that.

I met her here when I came back. So there’s these regulars who have been regulars forever. They would always talk to me about their daughter in Oregon. I never met her. The day I moved to Arizona, their daughter moved back to Edmonds.

Shortly after I moved back, I was at the Mariners game with friends and met this girl and fell in love with her. A couple days later, I saw this girl with those people who had talked to me about their daughter. I asked them if I could ask her for a date. I ended up marrying her. That’s the kind of community that Edmonds is. I’ve been serving these people forever and now they’re my in laws — Bob and Deb Storino.

What’s your favorite drink to mix?

A Manhattan.

What’s your drink of choice when you’re not working?

I like drinking beer.

How many drinks can you mix?

I’d say a few hundred, but really smart phones can refresh my memory on just about anything.

Have you been stumped by a drink request?

Someone will order a drink someone made up that you don’t know what it is.

With a goofy name?

Yes. Sometimes there are drinks people ask for and we don’t have the ingredients to make them.

If you could serve a famous person living or dead who would it be and what would you serve them?

Probably (baseball Hall of Famer) Ken Griffey Jr. He was my idol growing up. I would serve him the most expensive scotch we have.

If you could choose a theme song for your shift, what would it be?

“Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus. It’s an inside joke with the people I work with.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or

If you go

Rory’s of Edmonds, 105 Main St., Edmonds, is open 11 a.m. until 2 a.m. daily. Call 425-778-3433 or go to for more information.

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