Bar Beat

Bartender Chat: Kallie Weyland of Byzantio

After braving the icy winds this week in search of a worthy Bartender Chat candidate, I was very pleased to meet Kallie Weyland at Byzantio. Not only was the place warmly lit and inviting, she also had some great stories to share over samples of her signature Ginger Pomegranate Martini.

Kallie has been bartending for about three years now. Like any in-demand bartender, she's made the rounds, having worked at Late Nite Pie and Nick's Place. I asked her how she likes Byzantio compared to some of the other places she's worked. "I like it a lot," she said. "The crowd is really diverse. Americans are the smallest sliver of our customers. We have people from all around the world as regulars."

Besides the friendly Greek owners and the unusual name, what is the big draw for non-natives? "We do belly dancing on Thursdays at 10:30 p.m., which brings in a fun crowd. And we also have hookah, which is very popular. I'm really liking grape right now." What Byzantio has an excellent selection of spirits, it also caters to patrons wanting something different, like coffee drinks, organic teas, or Italian sodas. And on my visit, the kitchen was turning out some amazing-looking and -smelling treats.

"Byzantio is a little gem," Weyland continued. "it's just relaxed and comfortable, but still really fun at the same time." So with all those crazy flavors of Malibu rum and Three Olives vodka, what does she find herself drinking most often? "Scotch. I'm a McAllen's 12 girl."

Weyland plans to tend bar for a while. "This is the only job where you can have this much fun and make this much money. I make as much as some people working 40 hours a week, and I only have to come in three nights a week." Go by on a Wednesday, Thursday, or Saturday night and ask Weyland about her alter egos, Harley Quinn and Miley Cyrus. Trust me, it's a fun time.

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Geri Maria Harris