I remember Bobby Kramer, the Metro Phoenix bartender from The Brickyard

A shockwave rushed through Arizona hospitality when a beloved bartender, mentor, father, and friend died.

Bobby Kramer, Beverage Director at ChandlerThe Brickyard and The Hidden House were hit by a wrong-way driver on Interstate 10 heading west near Chandler Boulevard. Kramer died early Wednesday morning, February 10th. He was 31 years old.

Kramer was a veteran and served eight years as a corpsman in the US Navy. He later discovered a love for craft cocktails and worked at the Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails in downtown Phoenix before taking the tour behind the bar at The Brickyard. Kramer was also President of the Phoenix Chapter of the US Bartenders Guild.

He is survived by his wife Lindsey Kramer, young son Arthur Kramer, and his parents and siblings.

How the community raised $ 100,000 for Bobby Kramer’s family

The loss was widespread throughout the bar and restaurant community and extends to the customers whoenjoyed meeting Kramer on the other side of the bar.

Kirti Dwivedi met Kramer while working at Blue Hound and had a personal and professional friendship with Kramer through her food and beverage marketing company.

“I might see him every two months, but somehow he knew everything about your life,” said Dwivedi. “He wrapped you in one of his famous hugs and you felt like you were the center of his universe. He did that to every single person.”

That connection became apparent in the days after his death, when hundreds of social media posts were spread from bartenders, business owners, customers and friends down the valley.

A post created by Justin Evans of The Sleepy Whale in Chandler and other beer bars in the valley featured a fundraiser to raise funds for Kramer’s family.

“We are raising money for Bobby Kramer and helping his family with everything they need,” says the Facebook donation page.

More than $ 77,500 was raised two days after the page was created. By February 15, it broke $ 100,000.

Evans said the tragedy took place near home when he and Kramer were both 31 years old and had young children, he said. He met Kramer at The Wandering Tortoise, a beer bar he owns near Arcadia. Later, when Evans planned to open the Sleepy Whale in Chandler, near The Brickyard, Kramer welcomed him to the community, he said.

Evans said setting up the fundraiser was just something he had to do for his friend and it was no surprise how many donations had come in.

People knew Bobby everywhere. He was magnetic ‘

“He was a big part of downtown Chandler and people knew Bobby everywhere,” Evans said. “It was magnetic.”

Evans remembers Kramer, an educator, seasoned mixologist, and mentor. Above all, however, Kramer is a selfless, sincere and happy person, said Evans.

“I’ve never seen this guy who wasn’t happy,” said Evans. “He was full of energy and determination. And it wasn’t just a smile for the service behind the bar, it was always like that.”

Kramer had two nicknames at the bar, Dwivedi said. Some would call him “Doc” in relation to his job in the Navy. Others who looked up to him and valued his mentorship called him “Dad”. And mentoring was something he not only loved but was good at, said Dwivedi.

“The people he ran are some of the best bartenders in Phoenix,” she said, referring to award-winning Brickyard bartender Jordan Chandler. Dwivedi remembered Kramer cheering Chandler on in a competition he had won.

“He set a good example a lot,” said Dwivedi. “He always had joy, excitement about what he had created.”

At the bar, Kramer was an expert in making beverages to suit specific tastes, Evans and Dwivedi said. Customers could come in and give him an idea of ​​what they like, and he would make the perfect drink every time, Evans said.

Jonathan Buford, co-owner of Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company, said Kramer’s legacy continues because he changed the valley’s bartending scene.

“He improved the service game in Phoenix,” said Buford. “He made it more personal and less transactional.”

Buford remembers his friend as a “model citizen,” someone who always put his wife and son first, and someone who was relentlessly curious.

That curiosity helped him push the boundaries of bartending and talking to clients and friends and really cared about what people had to say.

“He really liked interactions with people,” said Buford. “And when people wanted to try something new, that’s what he loved most.”

“There is no amount of money that can help the loss.”

There are plans to set up a scholarship fund for Kramer’s son, Arthur, and long-term projects to honor Kramer’s life, Buford said. According to Buford, the best way to help the family is through the Memorial Fund on Facebook.

“There is no amount of money that could help the loss, but we want to raise money for his son. That is exactly what Bobby would have wanted,” said Buford.

The fundraiser is designed to give Kramer’s wife Lindsey some financial relief so she can have time to worry, say Buford and Evans, and support Arthur.

Bartenders, customers, friends and the community have continued to gather around the Kramer family. The team at So Far So Good, a cocktail bar in downtown Phoenix, posted on social media that any tips from the service would go to the fundraiser last Thursday night.

Through his brewery, Buford plans to create a beer called Bobby’s Fund in honor of Kramer, and plans an industry-focused fundraiser at a later date.

If you want to donate to the memorial fund, you can submit a contribution via Facebook at www.facebook.com/donate/259631005576409/1400208250330616.

The driver who met Kramer has been classified as impaired, according to the State Department of Public Safety. Officials said the wrong-way driver was a 25-year-old Phoenix woman who drives a limousine. She suffered injuries that were not life threatening. She has not been identified in reports.

Evans said this tragedy was an important reminder to never drive impairedand to exercise compassion for others.

“We have to learn to think a little more about other people, like Bobby always did, and we would be in such a better place.”

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Reach the reporter at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @tirionmorris, on Facebook under Tirion Rose and on Instagram under tirionrose.

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