Interview with bartender Kelli Slezak, Havana and East Village.
Kelli Slezak, Havana and East Village
Neighborhood: Olde Towne East
Years behind the bar: 5
What's the biggest perk of being a bartender?
You pretty much get to be out every night, but still get paid for it.
Do you have any funny stories from watching people from behind the bar?
One Monday, we were cleaning up at the end of the night and someone had left his jeans over the stall door. The whole night we're cleaning, we're like, "How did we not see somebody walk out with no pants on?!" Shirts and things we find all the time, but jeans?
What do you think a bartender needs to be good at?
They need to be very attentive to when people come up to the bar. Because if someone's standing at a bar and you go to ask someone else that came up after them, it's not pretty.
Got any other tips?
When we start credit-card tabs, you gotta look at it so when you hand it back, you can say their name to them. And they get impressed.
What do you think you would be doing if you weren't bartending?
I would probably be back in school. I have a bachelor's, but I'm supposed to go back for graphic design ... and I keep putting it off because the money's good, being a bartender.
What do you like to drink?
I'm PBR drinker. PBR and Miller High Life.
Where do you like to go when you're not working?
Carabar, Bodega, Skully's.
Do you hang out at the bars you work at much?
I try to stay away. I usually end up here a lot, because it's such a comfortable atmosphere.
What else do you like to do?
I like to go to shows at lots of little hole-in-the-walls. Museums, music. I like to go dancing.
Anywhere that there's a party.
Where do you tell out-of-towners to go?
We're just like, "Well why wouldn't you want to stay here with us?" And just show them a good time and make them laugh and learn their names.
What's your favorite song about drinking?
"99 Bottles of Beer."