Nicole Slusser on bartending: "I think it's a pretty easy thing to learn to make the drinks. But a lot of people get stage fright - it's like public speaking to them, when they're behind the bar. Customers want to be entertained; they want your stories, too."

Nicole Slusser

Years behind the bar: 11

Home neighborhood: Brewery District

Hometown: Pittsburgh

Where did you get most of your bartending experience?

The Tiki Hut on Hilton Head. Most of the people who come down in the summer are from Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati. And they go crazy for it.

Is bartending a career or a job for you?

When I moved to Columbus [in September], I had every intention of getting out of bartending. It just so happened that this was the first job I got.

But you enjoy it.

As much as I'd like to deny it, I love it. I'm so passionate about it. I'm a good bartender, and it feels good to be good at something.

What's the biggest perk of bartending?

Definitely the money. And going out, you know other bartenders and, you know, maybe get a little discount here and there.

Is it hard to learn?

No, I think it's a pretty easy thing to learn to make the drinks. But a lot of people get stage fright - it's like public speaking to them, when they're behind the bar. Customers want to be entertained; they want your stories, too.

When do you like to work?

I am totally a happy-hour girl. I'm trying to build some regulars here. It takes a while.

Do you ever feel like a psychologist?

Oh, for sure. I've actually thought about going back to school and getting my master's in psychology, because I am dead interested in it. I actually go home thinking about those people and trying to help them, maybe trying to come up with some advice when I see them next.