Bartender of the Month: Tim Pendergrast

Tim Pendergrast talks about life behind the bar at Ryan’s Pub.

Photo: Amy Tucker
Interview: Courtney Potts

How long have you been here? I’ve been working at Ryan’s for eight years
now, and I’ve been bartending for about three.

Have you worked at any other restaurants? I always worked in the service industry. I bussed tables at Anthony’s in Malvern before this job, when I was 14 years old.

What made you want to start working at Ryan’s? My father actually went
to UPenn and worked in the city at Smokey Joe’s for Pat Ryan, the owner here. So, when I began college here, my dad called Pat and asked him if he had anything open. He said he had an opening for bussing tables, so I took it.

So you started out bussing tables; did you do any other jobs here before
I bounced for a little while, and then bar-backed for a couple years. The opportunity to bartend presented itself, so I stepped up.

What do you enjoy most about working here? Ryan’s has a lot to offer.
There’s so much that I’ve learned since I started working here. I’ve noticed that there’s definitely an interesting divide between the mature dinner-hour crowd compared to the mayhem that is the university crowd later at night. You get to see a little bit of everything here — it’s nice.

You have a set schedule?I have sort of a mixed bag of shifts. I work Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. My shift usually starts at 6pm or 9pm, and then I close.

What’s your favorite shift? Saturdays are always good because it’s busy the whole time; being busy means making money. Sundays are unique and may be my favorite shift — we have a lot of regulars who come in, and I get a little more time to talk and get to know them better.

What’s the biggest tab you’ve ever seen somebody ring up? We have a regular named Joe Cook who has a party every year for the Christmas parade. Between him and his friends, they run up a hefty tab. I’m always happy to see them come have fun here.

What’s your favorite drink to make? I like to pour a Guinness, the right way. There’s two steps to the pour. The difference is in the head of the beer — if you do it right, the head won’t go anywhere.

Do you have any special drinks you experiment with making?
I learned some tips and tricks along the way. Sometimes my girlfriend will come in and ask me to make something exciting, and I’ll give it a try.

What do you do on days you’re not behind the bar? I still take classes here at West Chester and play a little blues guitar. I enjoy going outdoors and hiking, too.

What’s your favorite meal? Picking one favorite is pretty tough — the food
here is so good. The prime rib is always amazing. But for me, I’d be lying if I
didn’t tell you the wings. Everybody here knows I eat more than my fair share.