Garden Lounge serves Moscow community with a smile
After a few years out of the spotlight, the Garden Lounge has reclaimed the Best of Moscow title for Best Bar.
While many would attribute the success of the Garden Lounge to the charisma and well-mixed drinks of long-time bartender and second-year Manager Bill Cole, he has a different theory.
“We don’t have many pool tables, we don’t have a dance floor, we don’t serve food,” Cole said. “It’s our staff. We have the greatest group of people that enjoy making people happy. It’s service with a smile. People like it here because they can have a good drink with their friends and get great service.”
The bar, located inside the Moscow Hotel in the heart of downtown Moscow, has been functioning in its current state as a bar and lounge for more than 30 years. During this time the bar has come to be known for its longest running drink special, Blue Monday.
“It’s a great Moscow tradition,” Cole said.
Although the Blue Monday success has been great, Cole said he and the 16-member staff are constantly coming up with new ideas for things to do at the Garden. Most notably are the themed nights that have become popular since Cole took over as manager, he said. From Hawaiian Night to ‘90s Night, the team tries to come up with things they’d enjoy doing at a bar.
“Like any business that’s trying to be successful, we’re always talking about new things,” Cole said. “But we’ll always be a lounge and we are happy with that.”
Cole has worked at the Garden for 13 years and said he enjoys the diversity of clients who frequent the bar — from locals who stop in for a post-work happy hour drink to the ever-changing hoards of college students who arrive later in the evening.
“One of my favorite things about this place is the diversity of clients … It’s not a bar for ‘those guys’ or a certain type of people,” Cole said. “It’s a good all-around bar and a meeting place … It’s well-rounded, and more than anything, you can sit and have a good drink. You can party or study or have a meeting … It’s a place for everyone.”
In addition to the people who keep the bar in business, Cole said his favorite thing to do is watch the relationships grow that have started in the Garden.
“The friendships that are born here — that’s what makes this place special,” Cole said. “I’ve been to many weddings that started at the Garden … Employees that have ended up together, customers that came here on their first date … It’s just great to watch.”
As for their status as the best bar in town, Cole said he, the staff and the owners are grateful for the customer support and are in the process of planning some sort of thank-you event to show their appreciation.
“We are literally customer service based, so when your customers vote you the best bar in town, it really means a lot,” Cole said.
Kaitlyn Krasselt can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @kaitlynkrasselt