LYNNWOOD — Traci Lamb serves who she calls her “extended family” — her customers — at Just Left Pub & Grill in Lynnwood.
Lamb does double duty as general manager and bartender for Just Left. Lamb said she loves her gig, mostly because she gets to socialize to her heart’s content.
In the past 25 years, she’s made friends from all over while tending bar at Sharkeys Pub & Grill (now Ringers Pub & Grill) in Mountlake Terrace, GT’s Sports Bar in Shoreline and the now-closed 747 Inn Tavern in Everett, to name a few.
Lamb, 46, of Lynnwood, has worked at Just Left Pub & Grill since 2010. Here, she shares why she enjoys bartending, her clientele’s drink preferences and what she pours herself at the end of a shift.
How do you like bartending?
I’m lucky because I’ve been in this general area for so long that my regulars are my regulars. They will hunt me down wherever I’m at and come and see me, so that’s the nicest thing. I was thinking about this when I was working on Thanksgiving. I had two customers from the 747, a customer from GT’s and a customer who was my very first customer I waited on at Sharkey’s, all sitting at the bar at one time. It was just the best feeling.
Why did bartending click for you?
I, for the most part, love people. I have to interact with people. I’ve tried sitting at a desk many times, and it’s just not for me. I would keep someone on the phone forever in my little cubicle. So, in my lifetime of bartending, I’ve turned customers into friends, and those friends eventually turn into family.
What do you like about working at Just Left?
I have a staff of seven and we’re a big family. It’s really nice. We also have a family-oriented clientele who are hard workers. My customers are so great because if they don’t know somebody, they still make them feel good. Nobody is cliquey. Everyone is real nice with making sure new people feel welcome.
What would be the theme song to your shift?
“Stripes” by Brandy Clark.
How do you make work fun on a daily basis?
I like telling jokes. I’m a big jokester. Sometimes the other bartenders and I will pull pranks — putting things on the wrong side of the bar or something else — to keep us going in an industry where you’re not allowed to be in a bad mood. My rule here is that you check it at the door.
What do you like pour yourself when you clock out?
Ketel One (vodka) with half 7Up and half soda water and float it with Ruby Red grapefruit juice. A lot of vodkas have a bite, but Ketel One doesn’t. It’s just very clean to me.
Is there a simple but tasty drink to order here?
We probably sell a million “strawberry bombs” here. It’s just Strawberry Smirnoff Vodka and Red Bull. It goes down like Kool-Aid and you don’t make the face after drinking it, which a lot of alcohols do.
What else do people drink?
Beer and shots. But now that everybody is on a diet, it’s vodka soda and lime. A shot of vodka is only 80 calories, so it’s OK.
What’s the strangest cocktail you’ve ever made?
I can still remember it to this day. Somebody ordered a Bailey’s Irish Cream with soda and I was very confused. Bailey’s has a tendency to curdle when you hit it with soda or cola because it’s a cream-based liquor. So, it was like, really? I did a taste test later on and it was like a Bailey’s milkshake. It was delicious. It surprised me because it didn’t even sound good.
How has this place changed over the years?
Dramatically. We got new ownership four years ago, Babbu Jemmu, and he put a lot of money into fixing up things, such as new TVs and new barstools. He trusts me, and with that I’ve been able to help raise our business by about 30 percent. So, that’s a good number, since so many bars tend to be on the downward slide, fading and closing.
What’s a sports night like here?
During the Seahawks’ Monday Night Football game against the Vikings, we were wall-to-wall. It was so loud. That was craziness. But the San Francisco-Seattle game (on Nov. 11), we were probably over capacity. It was just crazy. The best part is when you see people who don’t know each other doing high-fives. That’s the bar I like working at, where everybody is your friend.
Evan Thompson: 425-339-3427, email@example.com. Twitter: @ByEvanThompson.
If you go
Just Left Pub & Grill, 4308 198th St. SW, Lynnwood, is open from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Call 425-776-7379 or find Just Left Pub & Grill on Facebook for more information.