What It's Like to Bartend for a Date on 'The Bachelor'
All photos courtesy of Multnomah Whiskey Library


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What It's Like to Bartend for a Date on 'The Bachelor'

"The director asked me to get them to talk about their relationship and their feelings for each other. So, I had the idea of making drinks for them based upon the adjectives that they used to describe the other person."

It's been three excruciatingly long days since the most dramatic season of The Bachelor concluded, but did it really surprise anybody that Ben Higgins chose Lauren Bushnell? For fuck's sake, she did take him to one of the best whiskey bars in America, the Multnomah Whiskey Library in Portland, Oregon.

Do you remember that momentous episode? Bushnell was wearing a plaid shirt and jeans while everyman Higgins casually sipped on a cocktail? All the while, Bachelor Nation oohed and aahed at the sheer stunningness of the establishment that carries over 1,600 bottles of spirits on the wall. Also, let's not forget that Portland is definitely a food and drink oasis.


However, what many of us don't know is that Bushnell was drinking gin instead, and yes, they tipped after drinking. MUNCHIES caught up with Multnomah Whiskey Library's bar manager Michael Lorberbaum—a.k.a. the dude who was on the ladder picking out top-shelf booze in one of the cutaway scenes—over the phone to find out what exactly they were drinking, and to see how life at the best library ever has been post-Bachelor.

MUNCHIES: Hey, Michael. How are you? Michael Lorberbaum: I'm doing well, just waking up and drinking some coffee because we had a nice, busy night last night.

Nice. Have you had more customers since your primetime national television debut? I think so. We've definitely seen a little uptick in business and certainly some people—who saw us on TV and probably said, "Oh my gosh, I have to go there"—have been coming [in].

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Can you give a brief description of your dreamy establishment for our readers? Absolutely. We are a food and beverage pub with a little less than 1,600 bottles on the wall—900 of which are whiskeys. We pride ourselves on an educated and knowledgeable staff because a vast selection can only get you so far. We go through a two-hour education every single week learning about new spirits and cocktails. We just try to provide a fine dining etiquette and service to a bar atmosphere.

Was Bushnell a regular at the Multnomah Whiskey Library before The Bachelor? No.


So how did The Bachelor find out about you guys? We have a tremendous PR person who is a big fan of the show. She was reached out to for our location, specifically. She contacted me to be there and be the liaison between them, and I was like, "Hell yeah, I'll be on TV."

What was that day like? It was a pretty long day. It's strange being in the library during the day because I spend most of my time there at night. It is not as bright during the day, so being in there was weird. It is still gorgeous but you see more of the library's flaws. I waited for the staff more since Ben and Lauren were filming.

That being said, they were very sweet but it was definitely a little awkward. I don't watch The Bachelor at all because I think it is a very strange premise in and of itself. I felt that they liked each other a lot then but I also felt this strange, strange, awkward tension, too. It was kind of weird.

I had the idea of making drinks for them based upon the adjectives that they used to describe the other person.

Would you classify their awkwardness as the type you see in strangers who are meeting for the first time after swiping right on Tinder or just the normal jitters of going on a first date? I wouldn't say it was Tinder-awkward. I would say it came from just being self-aware because you are being filmed, which meant things like exaggerating motions because you want to make good TV. As much as you want to make an establishment a romantic place at noon with four cameras two feet away from you, there is nobody in the world who can turn that into a romantic experience—at all. I felt it a little forced.


It was a really cool experience and they are both really sweet, genuine people, which I was happy to see—but man, it is an awkward show. It's a strange premise. I don't understand how those women can put themselves in the position to get chosen by one guy. It's weird, my brain doesn't wrap around it.

Awkwardness aside, they ended up winning. Were you able to sense their deep chemistry despite the Hollywood-ification of it all that early on? At that point, I hadn't watched any of the show or knew anything about any of the other people, but I did hear some of the staff say, "He likes her the best." Still, it seemed apparent to me that they had the best chemistry out of the remaining contenders, for sure.


What did they drink? That was a cool little point, actually. The director asked me to get them to talk about their relationship and their feelings for each other. That was a pretty hard thing to do. I mean, I'm a bartender and I know how to talk to people, but to pry in there just having met them, period? So, I had the idea of making drinks for them based upon the adjectives that they used to describe the other person. I told them to give me three things that describe the other person and I will create a drink out of those descriptors.

I made her a really fun, refreshing, floral, sparkling wine-based gin drink. For him, I made a Manhattan variation with Scotch and Bénédectine called the Bobby Burns, which I'd thought he'd really enjoy. On camera, they only drank one drink each. After they were done recording the scene, Higgins drank some Ransom Emerald Northwest whiskey because he wanted to try something from the Northwest; he loved it. It's one of my favorites, too.


I was a little disappointed that this part got edited out and that the only thing that made it to the show was just me up on the ladder. It was kind of a long day.

Well, I appreciate your thought process involved into making these cocktails. Did they tip afterward? Yes, they tipped. I mean, they didn't tip but the production company did.

Have Ben or Lauren returned yet? Not yet, no.

What is it like to now be forever affiliated with The Bachelor? It's fun. It's always nice to get recognized for something that you are passionate about, which for me is service and whiskey.

Thanks for speaking with us.