How long have you been bartending?
Sixteen years, since the day I turned 21.
What do you love most about your job?
My customers. I have a lot of wonderful customers. I think 75 percent of the people I wait on are amazing. And 25 percent are probably a pain in the ass. And some might really, really suck. But 75 percent of them are definitely amazing.
Odd questions, requests, exper-iences?
This lady asks last night, "Do you think I'm going to have to get in the line to get in the show?" I was like, yeah, I do. Or "Do you have beer?" What? I'm the bartender, I'm standing behind the bar with all this stuff behind me. Of course I have beer.
People don't usually get that out of line on my shifts anymore, 'cause I've been bartending for so long, I just don't let it happen. I can already see it escalating, and I'm like, "Nope, sweetheart, sorry, you've got to go."
What qualities make a good bar-tender?
Being in a good mood is one. I quit drinking almost a decade ago, so that's helped a lot with my job: You're not in a bad mood, you're rested, you're ready for work. When you're hungover all the time, it's really hard to deal with the masses. And if someone's not having a good time, you want to flip that attitude around so that they are having a good time.
I'm good at remembering people's names, so that's always been a big thing for me. People have always liked that when they come back, I know who they are, or they're surprised that I know who they are.
I also think bartenders should avoiding overpouring. I've worked with a lot of bartenders who pour really stiff, and then your whole clientele is sloppy wasted, and you're the one who has to deal with them... then you have to listen to all the same stories that they keep telling, or they keep yelling your name, or whatever! Pour an accurate drink for your customers.
Favorite drink to make?
Beer in a can.
Least favorite drink to make?
Prob-ably an old-fashioned. I don't know why, but for some reason, to me, it has all these steps to it, which aren't hard—I don't think any drink is hard. If drinks are hard, you shouldn't be a bartender—they're all very simple. There are really no more steps to an old-fashioned than a margarita, but for some reason when people order it, I'm like, "An old-fashioned? Really?" But it seems mean to say, because I really shouldn't have a drink I don't like to make. I don't mind making you anything you want. Obviously I want to make you happy.
I've had so many. The cleverest one was: "You're not working with a whole lot, but you do it real well." I thought that was really funny.
What do you do when you're not slinging drinks?
Study rock and roll. I own a house in Greenwood, which means I have the luxury of having a music collection that I haven't had to move around in years. I have a record player and CD player that I use all the time—I don't have any songs downloaded or on my phone. And I'm constantly reading some book on rock and roll. Like right now, it's Gimme Something Better, which is about the San Francisco punk scene. But I'm always reading something on rock and roll, which is helpful for my job, too, because a lot of tourists come to the Crocodile... for rock-and-roll type history, and I specialize in it!
You can find Hefe behind the bar at the Crocodile (2200 Second Ave) during happy hour on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and at Chop Suey (1325 E Madison St) on Saturday nights for Dance Yourself Clean.