Megan Bingaman, 42, who has been bartending for 15 years, works at the Village Taphouse & Grill in Marysville.
She’s a graduate of Cascade High School in Everett. She previously worked in management at the Everett Mall, but didn’t like sitting behind a desk all day.
Her advice: “You should come into a bar and just sit back and watch. That’s why I love this job. Every day is different. Every customer is different. You’ve just got to have fun and laugh.”
Why did you go into bartending?
I’ve been bartending for close to 15 years. I had worked in the management office at the Everett Mall. I was director of specialty leasing. I left 2008. I had been there so long, I needed something different. I had been behind my desk my whole life and didn’t like it. My first bartending job was at Flights Pub on Evergreen Way.
How did you happen to take it up?
It’s a hard industry to get into. No owner wants to hire a bartender that hasn’t had experience, but you need to get hired to get experience. At Flights, I was chatting with the daytime bartender. She said, “If you want to shadow me, I would be more than happy to train you.” I volunteered a couple of days a week. I shadowed for a little over a month. About then, the bartender I had been shadowing broke her ankle. The owner called me and said, “How would you like to bartend?” That was it.
What drew you to Village Taphouse & Grill?
Well, this is my third time working for (owner) Christina Adamson. About eight years ago, she owned the Wild Hare on Evergreen Way in Everett. I worked for her there for a few years. Then I left. My daughter was graduating, and I took time off.
Her sister owned Village Restaurant in Marysville. So when Christina got rid of the Wild Hare, the two sisters joined up. Christina converted the original Village into a fun, more bar atmosphere. I started working for her again. Then I moved to Texas. That’s when Village burned down (in 2017).
Luckily, this building (in Marysville) used to be Maxwell’s. The two sisters got in touch with the owners and now it’s Village Taphouse with 22 tap handles. I just moved back from Texas with my husband about 2½ months ago. I said do you need help again?
What are things about the job customers never think about?
There is so much liability on bartenders. It’s very scary. You really, really have to be careful how much you pour and how many one person has had. I could go to jail because I overserved somebody who hurt somebody on the way home.
How do you handle cutting people off?
Each customer is different. You’ve got to play with it, judge the customer. Bring up a wife or their kids — “You’ve got Jimmy’s baseball game tomorrow. Come on now. Let’s have some coffee.” It does not do any good to come off very stern. Women are so much harder to handle. They don’t like another woman telling them what to do.
What’s it like being a female bartender?
You have to be prepared to jump into the middle of a fight. At Flights, it was not a normal Friday night if two fights didn’t break out. No one wants to hit the female bartender. All your regulars are your bouncers.
Did you grow up in the area?
Yes, I graduated from Cascade High School, and so did my daughter. My family moved here from Missouri when I was 2.
What kind of bartender are you?
Oh, I’m always the happy one. I absolutely love bartending. The customers are amazing. I think it keeps me young. It’s just a fun job.
What’s your drink of choice when you’re not working?
I quit drinking five years ago. I think because I don’t drink and go to other bars any more, I can come in refreshed and happy-go-lucky.
What’s the craziest thing that’s happened while you were bartending?
The craziest was at Flights, a huge fight broke out in the beer garden. Finally, we had to lock the front door and beer garden door. But girl fights are the worst. Women are harder to handle.
How old was the oldest person you’ve carded?
Oh 60s. Just because they’re 60, they still need to have a valid ID. Everybody has to have a valid ID on them. If you do not have a valid ID on you, you cannot drink. It’s that simple. So when in doubt, throw them out. My liquor license is not worth somebody having that beer.
What’s your favorite drink to mix?
I make amazing margaritas. Once everybody gets a whiff of it, then everybody orders them.
How many drinks can you mix?
Lots. I mean well over 100. I’ve been doing it so long you just … learn to play around with liquor and remember how things marry. The toughest are newbie 21-year-olds. They’re the ones that want to try the ones I’ve never heard of. They’re not used to liquor, so they want a Trash Can drink with 10 different things in it.
If you could serve a celebrity living or dead, who would it be and what would you serve them?
Oh, gosh. That’s a tough one. I think Princess Diana. I would love to kick back and have a glass of wine with her. That would be cool. And have a spot of tea.
If you could choose a theme song for your shift, what would it be?
That country song, “I Love This Bar.”
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
Bar hours at Village Taphouse & Grill, 1204 Third St., Marysville, are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, noon to midnight Monday, noon to 1 a.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday. Call 360-659-2305 or go to www.villagetaphousegrill.com for more information.