Bartenders Bible

Jeremy Thomson of The Khyber Recommends Lifting Kegs While Getting the Led Out

Photo: Kirsten Henri

Bartenders spend most of their time, well, tending to you. They make you drinks, make you laugh and convince you that your drunken babble is nothing short of genius. Or at least the good ones do. In our weekly series, Bartenders Bible, we let the folks manning the speedrails and taps around town have their say. This week we hear from Jeremy Thomson, who captains the Khyber in Old City Monday through Friday from noon to 7 p.m. Jeremy fills us in on which beer has enslaved him, how to properly hoist a keg and the best and worst parts of his job.

Name: Jeremy Thomson

Coordinates: The Khyber

Bartender or mixologist?: Suds Slinger.

Tenure at the Khyber: Who knows? Long time, dude.

Total years behind the bar: I started in the early eighties when my father would yell, “Boy! How about you get yer old man a cold one, huh?”

Favorite beer: That’s a tough one. I think it depends on the occasion… I love pilsners, belgian ales, and porters. When it comes to session beers I like downing a few Kenzingers. In the bigger beer category I am a slave to Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout). It’s a stout brewed with coffee and chocolate that is aged in bourbon barrels - there is nothing like it!

Favorite liquor: I’m a whiskey man. I like Irish whiskey, rye whiskey and bourbon. When the price is right I’ll always go for Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon.

Favorite cocktail: I don’t drink cocktails very often, but when I do its always a Manhattan on the rocks - with rye of course.

Your best customer in five words or less: Other bartenders. They know what they want. They know how to order it, how to wait for it, and especially how to tip.

Your worst customer five words or less: The General.

All bartenders should know a good joke. What’s yours?: Some jumper cables walk into a bar, the bartender says, “Don’t start anything!”

Have you ever had to break up a fight at your bar? What was it about?: Yeah, some jumper cables with a listening problem.

It’s okay to sleep with customers. Yes or no?: Personally I’m in love with an amazing girl, so the answer would be no. Is it okay for others to do it? Sure, why not?

The best tip you ever got?: Don’t stare directly at the sun.

What’s the best part of the job?: The conversation, sometimes the money, and the free beer samples I get from brewery reps - I like to call ‘em my homework.

What’s the worst part of the job?: The conversation, sometimes the money, and occasionally the free beer samples I get from brewery reps.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever seen at your bar?: There is not enough room on the entire internet for me to list all of the amazingly horrible things I’ve seen at the Khyber. Come in sometime and I’ll tell you all about it over a beer.

What’s your patented drunk-handling technique?: As the late, great, and surprisingly small Dalton says, “Be Nice.”

Give us one of your bartending tips-of-the-trade: When lifting kegs, use legs… and whenever possible, put on side one of Led Zeppelin IV.

Why should people get a drink from you rather than the bartender down the block?: Why not get a drink from both?!

Where do you like to go for a drink when you’re on the other side of the bar?: Southwark, Resurrection Ale House, Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar, P.O.P.E., Bar Ferdinand, etc.

What’s the secret to being a great bartender?: Ask Paul E. at Ray’s.

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Colin Shearn of The Franklin

Know a bartender who should be part of the Bartenders Bible? Tips gladly accepted here.

Jeremy Thomson of The Khyber Recommends Lifting Kegs While Getting the Led Out