Mankato Raises a Glass to Top-Shelf Bartender

MANKATO FREE PRESS (June 30, 2017) – Tending bar at Pub 500 is so much a part of Erin Filson’s life that she isn’t sure how long she’s done it.

Filson remembers starting about half a dozen years ago on Minnesota State University’s homecoming weekend. She knew how to serve drinks, having worked as a country club cocktail waitress during high school and a bartender in a corporate setting. But she didn’t know where Pub stocked things, and relied on her patient coworkers’ help that hectic homecoming night.

“That was my introduction to the Pub — sink or swim,” she said.

Filson is grateful for owner Tom Frederick, operating partner Jay Reasner, her coworkers and the work environment. It’s a place where her customers can become friends, where she can suggest libations based on each individual’s likes.

Pub 500’s atmosphere, she humbly suggested, probably helped her win two years in a row over so many great bartenders. “Everybody on the list, last year and this year, deserved to be there. … To even be included is flattering,” she said.

But even the most dedicated bartender needs a break. Filson likes to spend hers on the golf course.

“I’m not the greatest golfer, but I do love it,” she said. “Any day of the year that you’re golfing and you’re not working is a great day.”

— James Figy

Photo by Pat Christman, The Free Press