Mixologist: Cathy Crosky of Knotty Pine Bar and Grill

  • Bryan Bullock photo
  • Bryan Bullock photo
From the 05/06/2009 edition

Neighborhood: Westerville

Hometown: Columbus

Years behind the bar: 20+

Cathy Crosky dispenses smiles like they're going out fashion. The Columbus native discovered bartending 20 some years ago and she's been gladly hooked ever since.

She slung suds for hotel bars like the Worthington Inn before settling in at Knotty Pine Bar and Grill four years ago. The classic Grandview drinkery is sprinkled with all the hues of a black-and-white photo, but there's no shortage of local color inside. Crosky has gotten to know more than a few faces while behind the bar.

What do you enjoy about bartending?

More than anything, I think it's just meeting and talking to different people. You develop friendships. It's really never a dull moment when you're bartending - I just enjoy it.

Who hangs out at Knotty Pine?

There's no one set clientele that comes in here, and I think that's what the draw is. We have college students, families, businesspeople and construction workers. People come here knowing they're going to see a friendly face. If someone is sitting and they're kind of isolated, it's not out of the ordinary for somebody to step up and say, "Hey, how you doing?"

What are they sipping?

Some of it is old-school. They're going to drink what they've been drinking for 20 years. You have people drinking cosmopolitans, martinis, but the next 10 people might drink Bud Light.

As a veteran of the trade, what do you think makes a good bartender?

I don't care how great of a mixologist you are, if you don't have people skills you're not going to be a good bartender.

Do people really confide in bartenders?

I don't know if it's because it's stereotyped, but they feel they want to share things with you. Sometimes you're getting more information than you really want to hear [laughs], but you feel uplifted that they would take the time and share something with you.

When that happens, do you feel swayed to open up yourself?

Absolutely you do, if you feel you know the person or you feel that they are as genuinely interested [in me] as I am in them. If a total stranger comes in here, I'm not going to tell him everything that's happened in my life, but these are all regulars.