Pie is one of my favorite bars to go to in the Richmond area. It is known for having delicious pizza and wings, and for the weekly events it throws. There is trivia night on Wednesdays, karaoke on Thursdays, and comedy night on Saturdays. Though I enjoy attending all of these, the real reason I spend so much time at Pie as opposed to other bars is because of the cocktails and the company. The drinks are fairly cheap and made well, and the bartenders are friendly and personable.
Andy Betourne, 25, is a customer favorite at Pie. Hailing from Virginia Beach, Va., he made his way down to Richmond and quickly secured a spot for himself in the bar scene. Not only does he produce tasty drinks but he also spends time getting to know his customers. As a bartender that I frequently visit and buy drinks from, I decided to ask him some more about himself and his experience as a bartender.
I started off by asking him what his favorite thing about being a bartender is.
"My favorite thing about tending bar is meeting someone and being able to make them something solely based on their personality and mannerisms," said Betourne. I can attest to his drink-making skills, as I have consumed numerous drinks that he has made for me, including tequila sunrises ($6) and an aptly-named "bear fight" ($18) which is when the drinker finishes a glass of Jaeger and chases it with an Irish car bomb. He knows that tequila sunrises are my drink of choice and makes them for me once I come into the bar. It speaks a lot to his skill and ability as a bartender that he is able to not only assess what kind of drinks newcomers will drink, but that he gets to know the regular patrons of the bar and learns what their drinks are as well.
Though his favorite drink to make is not a tequila sunrise, it does include tequila. He enjoys making margaritas because tequila and orange liqueur mix well with many flavors, which makes it fun to experiment with, he said. His favorite drinks to drink, however, are well-constructed bourbon cocktails. In particular, he named the "seersucker" from the Roosevelt, or one of Bongs sazeracs.
While Betourne is extremely sociable and tends to get along with a majority of his customers, he did let me in on the most bothersome thing that he deals with as a bartender. "It's not too great when people ask for the prices of a bunch of drinks, complain about the prices, and then order something completely different," he said, adding that the prices of the drinks are not his decision. But overall, he enjoys his time behind the bar.
Betourne has it all - a friendly personality, a smile, a sense of humor, and impeccable drink-creating capabilities. So next time you're in Richmond, Va., looking to drink and make a friend, head on over to Pie at 214 N. Lombardy St. and say hi to one of Richmond's best bartenders. Pie is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Monday through Friday, and from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. on the weekends.