A Shot in the Dark at Murray Stenson’s Hideout

That you can’t find Zig Zag is almost by design.

The Zig Zag Café is tucked away down the Pike Street Hill Climb, just to the right of the Mexican restaurant El Puerco Lloron. The bar's highly celebrated barkeep, Murray Stenson, admitted that one of the pluses of having a bar so difficult to locate "is that only the cool folks know about it." Speaking of cool, Stenson gets props galore in national publications for being one of the nation's best bartenders—and they're well-earned. While the Zig Zag has ample seating inside and out, the main reason people cram next to each other at the bar is to watch Stenson make magic. The place always has superb jazz coming through the speakers—Lee Morgan's "Cornbread" was playing when I walked in—and Stenson's libation-of-the-moment is a Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, made with aged rum, lime juice, Cointreau, and a syrup called Falernum that put me in the tropics at first sip. The rest of the patrons seemed to be boppin' to the jazz while enjoying happy hour in small groups. Zig Zag is by no means posh, yet at the same time it's the type of bar where Maker's Mark is bottom-shelf. Since Stenson is the main attraction, readers should know he works only Tuesday through Friday. As one patron leaned in and said, "Murray always knows when you're on a date, and he'll get you laid too." 

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