A bar probably isn’t the first place you’d think of for a celebration of pie.
But that’s just what Rhythm & Rye bartender Erin Gill has cooked up for Tuesday night.
She’s hosting Rhythm & Pie, a night of pie tasting and pie throwing and a benefit for Pizza Klatch, SafePlace and the YWCA.
And oh, yes, there’ll be live music, too, which is more typically what you’d expect at a bar. On the bill are Rooster/Crow, Keroscenery and singer-songwriter Lisa Ramsauer.
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Gill came up with the idea because she wants to see more excitement happening at the bar on Tuesday nights, which tend to be a slow night. And because she loves pie.
“My mom had always made pies when I was growing up, and last summer, I decided that I was going to try to get back into doing it,” Gill said. “You can’t buy good pie in the stores.”
So Gill started baking, and she started posting on Facebook about baking. People were joking about “Rhythm & Pie” before anyone knew what the event would be.
Home-baked pie — some to eat at the bar, some to buy and take home — will be the centerpiece of the event, along with whipped-cream pies for tossing at Gill, Rhythm & Rye owner Andy Geertsen and others to be named later.
“We want to have a big buffet table with pie that everyone has made,” Gill said.
It won’t be the bar’s first buffet. Gill and organist Charlie Saibel have hosted two Tuesday-night potlucks in recent months. Turkey and stuffing were served at the pre-Thanksgiving one. So was Gill’s pie.
If Rhythm & Rye is starting to sound more like a big family than a typical bar (cue the “Cheers” theme song), there’s good reason for that.
When he took over the bar — formerly The Royal Lounge — in March 2014, Geertsen had only five days to clean, remodel and get the doors back open for a previously scheduled Hillstomp show.
He managed it on the cheap thanks to lots of willing volunteers.
“There were so many people there,” Ramsauer said. “I was underneath the stage pulling wires.”
“The whole bar is basically a community effort,” Gill said.
These days, the bar really is the kind of place where everybody might know your name. Couches give the space a homey touch, and Gill has at least once offered free happy-hour hugs.
“It’s a home for a lot of people,” Ramsauer said. “If you have nothing else to do, you can go down and play some pool and hang out with people. There is music just about every night of the week, and musicians, myself included, who are more than happy to get up on stage and play their hearts out.”
But if it’s a warm-and-fuzzy sort of place, Rhythm & Rye is also a drinking establishment. And some of the pie — baked by customers and friends of the bar — will reflect that, too.
“For my next experiment, I will put both booze and bitters in my pie,” Gill posted on Facebook last week. “And work with frozen fruit. I’m a disaster waiting to happen.”
Despite the dire prediction, she got good results.
Actress Amy Shephard plans to make a bourbon cherry pie.
But Ramsauer, much as she loves Rhythm and Rye, won’t be baking.
“Oh, God, no,” she said. “I try to stay out of the kitchen.”
RHYTHM & PIE
What: This benefit event includes a whole lot of pie — to taste, to buy and even to throw — plus music by Rooster/Crow, Keroscenery and Lisa Ramsauer.
When: 9 p.m. Tuesday.
Where: Rhythm & Rye, 311 Capitol Way N, Olympia.
Tickets: $10 donation suggested. Proceeds benefit Pizza Klatch, SafePlace and the YWCA.
Information: facebook.com/rhythmandrye or 360-705-0760.