Behind the Bar, Featured Post, Wining & Dining

Behind the Bar: Karin Huffman


Karin concocts the Classic Manhattan Up!


Karin Huffman

TJ Stones Grill House & Tap Room

608 Montgomery Street

Old Town Alexandria



How did you get started in the bartending business?

In college a new bar opened up and I applied to be a cocktail waitress. At the “Grand Opening” both bartenders were fired on the spot for stealing. The owner comes up to me and says, “Can you make a drink?” I replied, “I do for myself all the time!”. He said,”Alright then, sink or swim girl!’ I swam….That was 20 years ago. From the get go I was in my element.

What is your biggest bartender’s pet peeve?

I don’t have just one as you can imagine. I will give the top three:

  1. What’s on tap? As they are standing right in front of the taps.
  2. What’s the cheapest thing you have?
  3. When a patron compliments your skills and then asks you if you went to Bartending School!

What is the cleverest line anyone has ever used to get you to give them a free drink?

Sorry, no such thing as a clever way to get a free drink.

What is the Best and/or Worst pickup line you have encountered?

BEST LINE: I had to handle a little altercation one night at the end of the bar. No tolerance for young and entitled show boats. I said my piece and defused the situation and went back to making a drink. A young man sitting adjacent to the load show boats says quietly… “Excuse me ma’am?” I turned and said “Yes, what can I do for you dear?” He says. “You frighten me and I am slightly turned on by it, Marry me?”

WORST LINE: I was helping some slightly drunk young men get to their cab when one of them turns and walks back from the cab. He walks up to me and says, “You are beautiful and I love you” and then throws up on my foot!

Tell us an interesting encounter you have had with a customer(s).

I have been fortunate to have worked with the same owners for the last 13 years. We have expanded from one location to now four locations in that time period. We are a small team and are more like family now. This attitude flows over into our pubs. We are a neighborhood pub and we make life long relationships. I have grown up with my work family and my patrons. I still see a lot of the same folks I served from my first days. I know their successes, their failures and I have met their families.

If you could sit down and have a drink with anyone in the world, past or present, who would it be?

If I could sit down with anyone and have a good chat and a glass of wine it would be myself from 20 years ago. That’s a conversation to be had J!


Karin is behind the bar Monday-Thursday nights and Friday day!


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