"Bar ghosts are the best because they just want to hang out." Lacy Williams would certainly know having bartended nine years at Houston's most haunted bar, Warren's Inn. A man's voice, chairs moving, glassware flying; lifelong regulars just trying to get a little attention. "It felt like that patron that sits at the end of the bar who's really quiet, it was never an ugly thing."
Walking into her easy, welcoming attitude is a lot like exhaling after a long day; it's no wonder even the most restless of souls dig her service.
Recently hopping from Warren's to Might As Well Lounge and Boozenasium in Spring Branch, her calm demeanor does the space and its former bar owner, Robbie, justice. "I like the service part of it, it's fun to be able to take care of people, get to know them over a drink, even if you're not drinking," Williams says.
When Robbie Lee of Robbie's bar died last year, several patrons (Brad Moore, Camella Clements, Joel and Heather Swift, Eric Bogle and Jill Brumer) bought it up, re-freshed, and re-opened the neighborhood hang to feel as warm and inviting as guests remember. Industry folk with a night off and Brancher's alike come and go as conversations weave back and forth organically.
"People can walk in here and form friendships, families, relationships with each other over something very minimal." Williams compares her new spot to Warren's as similar in that way.
The personal connection between her and her customers is one of her favorite parts of the job. Previous to bartending she enjoyed a lot of the same aspects of customer service working as a senior manager at local retail boutique, Langford Market. "I loved shopping for people. It's that relationship bond where customers get to know and trust you." When the boutique closed, her roommate at the time, a bartender at La Carafe, suggested she apply at Warren's.
On a night off, you'll find her visiting various bar families around town like Warren's Inn and Grand Prize Bar, Lei Low too. "It's not necessarily about what's being offered, but who's serving." Williams certainly agrees that coworkers become family. (She also logs hours at Grand Prize Bar.)
During the day, she likes to garden outside. "Getting out in the sun, hands in the dirt; letting your body feel the ground beneath you." Perhaps her work with the earth is what lends to her grounded presence behind the bar.
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1 ounce Rye Bourbon
1 ounce Sweet Vermouth
1 ounce Campari
Orange, zest for garnish
Combine and serve over ice with fresh zest from an orange. Bourbon lovers, Negroni lovers, this one's for you. "I like cocktails like this because they are a little richer. It makes you sip and think about what you're tasting," Williams says.
Shot of Advice: Don't wait for the right moment. I know that's highly simplified, but it should be. It should be that simple.