As someone trying to make a name for herself in the cutthroat entertainment biz of Grand Rapids, I spend a lot of time in bars. I’ll call it “networking” because it sounds better than “functional alcoholism”, and I get to choose the words I use. Since I get around to most of the watering holes in town, I get to know the best bartenders there are. And, since I think credit is deserved where credit is due, we’re doing a new monthly feature for them. And yes, it’s completely subjective.
This month, I’d like to introduce you to Rodney Marx. He’s April’s “Bartender Babe” and rightfully so, since I’ve been swooning over him for a solid few years now. You can find Rodney behind the bar at the Tin Can, (the place people run to for shots in between sets at The Intersection) literally rubbing elbows and tossing around various flavored vodkas and canned beer. You’ll know him when you see him, too. Because he’s the one with the face tattoo. It’s a hammer. Like. I know. When I first saw him, behind the bar at Stella’s once upon a time, I was attracted to the fact that he looked like he might murder me. Then I sat down and he complimented my necklace before taking my order and my vagina has never been the same. If you think those two things are unrelated, I challenge you to interact with this drink-slinging charm-bomb for 30 seconds and report back on your downstairs precipitation.
Rodney grew up in the mean streets of Flint, before it was a globally trending topic, and he’s been ahead of the game ever since. He abandoned the grit for pristine Petoskey when he moved there with a tattoo artist friend (because of course), and has been tending various bars for the entirety of his adult life, except for one short stint in sociopolitics while working on Obama’s first campaign when he lived in Portland at the SAME TIME as Roach, of Stella’s fame. Because the universe is fucking weird.
I like people who don’t make any sense, and that’s why I’m obsessed with Rodney. He looks like he just strolled off the set of SLC Punk! and like he might say “Oi” in a Cockney accent, but he’s the face tattoo you can bring home to mom. If I’ve ever heard him say a bad thing about anyone, it was about half as mean as the nicest thing I’ve ever said to people I actually love. He’s the personification of “two positives and a negative”. His sparkling personality seems like it can’t possibly be real, but it is. He’s really that charming. Watching him interact with cougars is the meaning of life. You can stop searching. Like, one time I heard someone ask him what “Chips and Guac” were and he explained it without sounding even a little bit condescending. That is a feat that has literally never been accomplished before. Not once.
In short, Rodney is a goddamn delight. And, I hate to get you all hot-n-bothered just to knock you down, ladies and gays, but Mr. Marx is newly married, as well. So, make sure to congratulate him with a hand-hug and a big ol’ tip the next time you find yourself at The Tin Can. He genuinely likes you. And even if he doesn’t, you’ll never be able to tell. I still can’t.