There's a new bartender in town

Marc Quinn joins the Loft in Edmonds in time for its 10th anniversary
By Brian Soergel | Sep 05, 2018
Photo by: Brian Soergel Marc Quinn uses a strainer to make a drink at the Loft in Edmonds.

Marc Quinn has mixed cocktails in various venues on three continents, so he’s replaced a few bartenders.

Quinn is now into his second week of bartending at the Loft on Main Street in Edmonds, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this Saturday. He’s the new guy, hired by owner Niko Raptis after the departure of Michael Chambers – “Chambers” to his fans – who is opening a new joint called Calypso down by the ferry.

“I’ve worked in so many venues I can’t count,” Quinn said from the Loft’s sunny outdoor patio before beginning a shift. “But it’s always the case that you’re not trying to replace somebody. You’re trying to expand on what they did. Chambers had his style, and I have my style. It’s always big shoes to fill, but different shoes.”

It’s a little difficult to pinpoint Quinn’s accent, with its occasional long vowels. Canadian? Yes – he grew up in Vancouver. A touch of the Australian upspeak? Yes, too, as he spent several years serving drinks in upscale Melbourne clubs.

Quinn is good-looking, trim, with impressive biceps. He’s 40, single and a likable sort who can hold a conversation while allowing ideas and stories to form and take off from there. He’ll no doubt do well in Edmonds, which already boasts bartenders with style.

There’s Chambers. Desmond Van Rensburg at Daphne’s, eager to introduce guests and “spank the mint” – throwing a sprig down on the bar – before offering up a cold Moscow Mule. And colorful Niles Peacock at 190 Sunset, named KING 5's best bartender in December.

So what kind of bartender will Quinn be?

His background should serve him well in Edmonds – still small town-ish and friendly, but also increasingly shedding its drowsy past as it slowly transitions to a newer, upscale version of itself.

“We have had quite a few applications for the bartender position, but Marc’s the one that grabbed my attention,” Raptis said. “He has traveled all over the world, extensively working in many Michelin 5-star restaurants, bars and clubs. I knew he could be someone special.

“He’s also won a few competitions and awards for his crafted cocktials. His passion about bartending, along with his global knowledge of cocktails and liquors in general, is something that can’t be ignored. He is a humble, down-to-earth guy, very approachable and friendly.”

Cosmopolitan

Marc Quinn’s parents loved Australia – Melbourne was his father’s favorite city – but they moved to California when their son was born. They moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, when Quinn was 11.

At age 26, after the death of his father, Quinn decided to try his luck Down Under in the same Melbourne that his father loved. He secured a visa and planted roots for more than seven years.

He was quickly hired by the La La Land group, which owns numerous bars in Australia and New Zealand.

Quinn began bartending, but was soon promoted to general manager and found himself running multiple venues. He still tended the bar, but his duties included hiring staff, working financials, and other back-office duties.

He eventually enrolled in a master’s cocktail program with Sebastian Reaburn, one of the country’s leading distillers, at an upscale cocktail bar called 1806.

“Melbourne has an amazing nightlife, with bars that are open 24 hours,” he said. “But that’s one reason I left. I realized as you get older you don’t want to go to work at 7 p.m. and finish at noon the next day. And Australians, they like to fight.

“There’s fighting in bars – not every bar, but it’s much more of an aggressive culture. And so I was tired of getting punched in the face at work – I had four broken noses while I was working, and I still have glass in my head from when I got glassed at work. And then two guys pulled knives on me.”

Not all of his days were filled with such drama, but Quinn admits it’s a different culture Down Under.

“The bar staff aren’t as respected as much as they are in America. So that’s why you go into management there – it’s better money, and it’s easier work.”

Quinn left Australia at age 33 and moved in and out of various bars back in Canada, including Rush Lane in Toronto (where he served LeBron James) and the Ascot Lounge and Projection Room in Vancouver.

Mukilteo home

Quinn eventually ended up in Mukilteo; his sister lives nearby in Everett. There were various reasons, including cheaper housing and cost of living. His home in Mukilteo’s Harbour Pointe is in the family name.

He was set to find work in Seattle, but saw an online ad for the Loft.

Quinn said he’s taken by his work city.

“Edmonds has a similar vibe to Mukilteo. It’s very relaxed. And coming from a city like Toronto, you can get over the big city. I just got tired of being part of a huge, giant machine.”

He’s part of an intimate community now.

Classic bartender

Quinn said he considers himself a classic bartender, one who makes established cocktails the traditional way, instead of a craft bartender.

But he said he also knows his audiences, and what may work in a trendy Toronto hot spot might not translate to mostly laid-back Edmonds.

“If someone asks for a martini at the Savoy in London, the bartender will assume it’s a classic. Two shots of gin, one shot of vermouth and a dash of bitters.”

Chilled in a stem glass, natch.

“But there are other variations of a martini, such as with vodka. So the martini changes as you go to different bars, but when you get to the highest level, they’re all made the same.”

Quinn will reach for the middle ground in Edmonds. It’s not unlike that of beginning journalists, who must learn the rules of grammar before breaking them. Quinn is an expert, but will settle somewhere in the middle ground in Edmonds.

So if you ask him for a martini, he might ask you how’d you like it. Dirty? Gibson-style? Dry? Classic? Those who know, know. But others might need some help. Quinn said his goal is to make every customer the right drink, the way they want it.

Of course, if you want a craft beer or a glass of wine, there’s that, too.

“There’s an old expression, and I’m not saying it applies here,” Quinn said. “But it’s if 10,000 bartenders make a drink wrong and you make it right once, you’re wrong.”

Wrong or right, it’s all cool. Quinn will make it your way.

“I’m very professional, always,” he said. “But I’m a very easygoing person. I can talk to anybody about anything. I consider myself well-read, and I’ve traveled. I want to greet everybody, but some want to engage, others don’t.

“Sometimes if someone’s had a bad day, they just want to come in, smash down a drink and leave. Other people may have had a bad day and want to talk.”

 

 

 

 

 

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