Bartender of the week – Angela Brooks
Bartender of the Week – Angela Brooks
Bartender: Angela “Nixon” Brooks
Bar: Pavilion Restaurant, 2010 W. Vandalia Rd.
Age: 26 times two. Yes, I’m 52.
Where are you from? Born in High Point, grew up in Jamestown, lived in Wilmington, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale, Sarasota, England. Spent some summers in Greece (where a lot of extended family lives.)
How long have you been bartending? About 20 years on and off.
How did you become a bartender? Most Greeks in the U.S. seem to be involved in the bar/restaurant industry. Growing up in a restaurant, I have held every position listed. Oddly enough, most of my bartending education came while I was a DJ in Atlanta. After the club closed down for the night, the bartenders would sit down to count their drawers and tips. Getting a bartender to make a drink after hours was not happening. So I would jump behind the bar, and they would tell me how to make drinks. Since I was now the only person behind the bar, all the staff would start ordering drinks. This went on for several years, DJ during the night, personal after-hours bartender for the bartenders.
What do you enjoy about bartending? I think the best part of bartending for me is getting paid to hang out and be social. Instead of sitting on the other side of the bar discussing life and spending money, I’m discussing life and making money. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy going out and having a few drinks, but I don’t do it as much these days. Being behind the bar makes you the center of attention. When it’s busy, and I’m really jumping at work, people say they enjoy watching me work. I seriously don’t know why. It’s not like I’m doing tricks. But the energy is high, everyone is talking to you, and for the moment all these strangers become part of the conversation. It’s entertainment that everyone can be a part of, and I’m the ring leader. I enjoy making people laugh and watching them unwind. Having a wise-ass mouth and no filter has gotten me into some trouble, but for some strange reason, it has also earned me some surprising tips. I never thought having diarrhea of the mouth would ever pay off.
What’s your favorite drink to make? A good one? I guess any drink that makes the customer say, “Wow, that’s a great drink!” I’ve been to a restaurant that lists some tantalizing (my .25 cent word for the day) ingredients for their specialty cocktail but ends up with a glass of improperly proportioned ingredients that tastes like a mixture of cough medicine and sour mix with a sprig of rosemary. If a chef will taste his food to ensure quality, why wouldn’t this bartender? I don’t trust a bartender that doesn’t drink. That, to me, is like putting on makeup without a mirror.
What’s your favorite drink to drink? Currently, my go-to drink is Crown Apple, soda with a splash of ginger ale and lime. And maybe a dash of whiskey barrel-aged bitters to balance the sweetness.
What would you recommend as an after-dinner drink? Because I have a huge sweet-tooth, I would say a dessert drink like Vanilla Vodka, Bailey’s & Godiva Chocolate shaken really hard poured in a chocolate rimmed martini glass.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen while bartending? Technically this wasn’t while I was bartending, but it was while I was working in the Atlanta club. There was a lady (I use the term loosely) who we called the “Drink Stealer.” She would wait for someone to put their drink down, and she would grab it and walk away. I can’t tell you how many times we saw her drink a beer with a cigarette in it! I know it doesn’t sound very crazy, but it is the only thing I can remember. These days the craziest thing I’ve seen is someone order a scotch sour.
What’s the best tip you’ve ever gotten? I did receive a $100 on a $40 tab. For our demographic, that is pretty rare.