Despite being a newer addition to Richmond's historic Church Hill neighborhood, Liberty Public House seems already a steadfast part of the community. The kind of place where you can enjoy a round of drinks on a Friday night, bring your whole family for dinner, or brunch with your friends, Liberty Public House is just that: public.
We stopped by and spent the afternoon with Bar Manager Lindsey Scheer to find more about her and the brilliant cocktail program she developed for this up-and-coming Church Hill watering hole.
Tell us about yourself…
I’m currently the bar manager at Liberty Public House in Church Hill. The first thing I can tell you about myself is that I hate talking about myself. Glad that’s out of the way!
I’ve been bartending since 2007. It’s funny because I never saw myself becoming a bartender. I was 22 and working at Tower Records and spent a lot of time at Sticky Rice, and eventually, I was asked if I wanted to be their hostess. It sounded like fun, and after hosting, the natural progression is usually serving, then bartending, then managing, and that is pretty much how it all went down. My first serious bartending shifts were at The National when they first opened. I’m happy I started out in a high volume establishment where it’s, “Go, go, go!" and you learn how to multitask, move, and hustle.
What do you do when you’re not bartending?
I have one day off a week and that’s Monday, so I spend most of that day driving around Richmond trying to find restaurants that are open.
I also run a Richmond job and housing forum called Lindsey’s List on Facebook that is about to hit 6,000 members. At some point, I became the girl who knew about all of the local industry jobs, so I started this group with hopes that I wouldn’t have to be Richmond’s unofficial career counselor anymore, but it’s actually become very time consuming! Based on the success stories and positive feedback, Lindsey’s List has grown into a super helpful resource for the city.
What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
When I was younger, I used to tour manage bands. Getting paid to see the country with your friends, eat and drink for free, and listen to music is a pretty killer job. That’s also how I met my boyfriend, so that was a cool perk too.
What’s your favorite thing to drink? Favorite classic cocktail? Favorite thing to drink when no one’s looking.
My desert island cocktail would definitely be a negroni, or any variation on the drink. There’s a negroni for all seasons, all moods. My favorite thing to drink when no one is looking is a piña colada. Actually, I’ll drink piña coladas while everyone is looking because I have no shame. They taste like vacationing as a kid.
Tell us about your bar…
We are a neighborhood restaurant and bar, family friendly, with a little something for every one. We have many vegan and gluten-free options. I think there was definitely room in Church Hill for a more accessible and affordable place to dine, especially with so many younger families living in the area. Even with our cocktail and beer programs, I wanted to provide drinks that were in tune with that idea. Most of our cocktails are plays on classic drinks and flavor profiles people were familiar with.
I like to work with tea in a lot in cocktails. Mistie from Carytown Teas is a dream and is always giving me new stuff to try out. I’ve made some pretty fun drinks out of her tea blends including a smokey black tea called lapsang souchong, jasmine, sassafras, and my recent favorite, coconut oolong.
What’s the neighborhood like?
Church Hill has some of the best restaurants in the city. I’m in Metzger and Union Hill possibly too much. There are so many awesome dining options up here for such a smaller neighborhood: Roosevelt, Dog & Pig Show, Alamo, Proper Pie, Dutch & Co, Stroops, and (soon to be) Nile. It’s a pretty hip neighborhood and a little older and less college/party vibe than the Fan. There are a lot of first time home owners and young families. It’s a great place for thirty-somethings.
What’s your favorite part about working there?
For the most part I have a fairly young staff, and I’ve really enjoyed educating my front of house staff about the bar. I want everyone to be ready with answers and know what Aperol or a Berliner Weisse is.
What’s your favorite menu item / cocktail pairing?
I make a wasabi-infused vodka that is my current obsession. Our East End Bloody Mary with wasabi vodka and Texas Beach Bloody mix paired with anything off our brunch menu is a win.
What’s a good night look like for you? What are people ordering?
A good night for me is when everyone is happy. I love helping guide someone to the perfect beer, cocktail or spirit. I enjoy learning about my craft and having anecdotes about the products, ingredients, and producers to relate to my staff and guests. Everyone loves a little story and I love sharing them.
What's your process for coming up with cocktail names?
My brain is a sponge for random trivia, especially music and pop culture references, so it was natural for me to pull from these sources. All of the drinks on my current menu have music related names, whether they’re song titles or taken from lyrics. I also think it’s fun when someone realizes there’s a theme and tries to figure them all out. Our current menu includes nods to The Breeders, The Clash, New Order, Magnetic Fields, The Afghan Whigs, The Jesus and Mary Chain, David Bowie and even Metallica and Harry Belafonte.
Can you share a Belle Isle creation with us? What inspired it?
As soon as I saw the Belle Isle Ruby Red, I knew I wanted to do a play on a Hemingway Daiquiri, so I started there. Then when the name "For Whom the Belle Tolls" popped into my head, it was too perfect, too easy. So perfect, the amazing Beth Dixon from Pasture ran a special with the same idea and name!
- 2 oz. Belle Isle Ruby Red Grapefruit
- 1/2 oz. Luxardo
- 1/2 oz. Aperol
- 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
Build all ingredients in a shaker tin. Shake, then serve on the rocks with a lime wheel garnish.
Recipe by Lindsey Scheer
Photos by Kate Magee