Zackery Sandstrom, Metropolitan Club

We are saddened by the loss of Zackery Sandstrom, a bartender at the Metropolitan Club for over 18 years. Known by many as simply “Zac,” he was a loving father, grandfather and husband. Zac was a native of Chadron, Nebraska, who moved to New York as a young man, who eventually became a beloved figure at the Metropolitan Club where he was known as the “glue” that held people together, leaving a lasting impression on his coworkers and the members at the Club.

His friend and coworker, club waiter Jose Collado, recalls that Zac knew every single member no matter where they were from. “He was loved by everyone at the Club,” said Jose. “To be a good bartender, you have to have a good memory, know a lot of stories and be a skill conversationalist, so Zac was very good at his job. Members would come in and saying, ‘I want a martini, but I want Zac to make it.’”

Zac also served as a mentor to many of the workers at the Club. Deon Bubb, a fellow bartender, remembers some of the lessons he learned from Zach. “I met Zac when I started at the Club in the summer of 2016,” recalled Deon. “At first, I thought he was stern, but that was because he cared deeply for what he did and he loved his work. Zac noticed from from the start that I had talent for mixing drinks, so he urged me to get more involved and practice my skills. His encouragement and his mentoring polished my work ethic. More importantly, he helped me relax at work and cultivate fruitful relationships with people, because I was nervous and standoffish when I first started. I felt like I stood out at the Club, and Zac broke the ice and helped me feel more at ease. He was extremely level-headed and he helped me from making mistakes. Zac was an amazing coworker and friend, and the kind of person I trusted with my secrets and fears. I’ll really miss the guy, and I hope he is happy now that he is reunited with his husband Pedro, whom he loved. I wish his family the best moving forward.”

Zac’s daughter Shannon shared some memories of her father, who at the time of his passing was living with her son Ashton. “I lost a man who I was privileged to call my father, but also my best friend,” she said. “We talked almost daily, and he always made me laugh. He loved me with all of his heart, and I loved him the same. In a few short days, my father went from working full time, taking the subway back and forth from Queens to Manhattan, to feeling a bit unsteady, being short of breath and having a cough, and then, less than 24 hours after arriving at the hospital, losing his life to this evil virus.”

“My sweet son Ashton has lived with my dad since my dad’s partner passed away last March. Ashton lost his freedom, his daily life, and his Papa within days, and now with great strength, he’s sticking to the quarantine home alone, working to stay strong and healthy.”

“Dearest Papa, you were so loved by so many, and this year my heart just hurts with you not here. I hope that wherever you are, you are making everyone around you smile and laugh, because that’s what you do best.”

Zac is survived by his brothers Robert and Terry, his sister Lorna, his son Shane, his daughter Shannon, and his grandson Ashton. We send our deepest sympathies to Zac’s family and friends.