Mixologist: CJ Ward of U.A. Pub

  • Jodi Miller photo
    CJ Ward of U.A. Pub
  • Jodi Miller photo
By Columbus Alive
From the Mixologist: CJ Ward of U.A. Pub edition
Neighborhood: Northwest Side

Hometown: Trenton, New Jersey

Years behind the bar: 7

How did you get into bartending?

My grandmother owned a bar in Brooklyn, so I've been in the bartending business for years.

When I started working here, it was kind of a fluke. I came to help bar-backing for New Year's three years ago. I stuck around, picked up a shift here, a shift there. Next thing I know, I became a permanent fixture.

What do you like about bartending?

It sounds kind of cheesy, but liquor is the elixir of life. People want to come in and they want to laugh, they want to smile. You just have to make good drinks - and sometimes you can make them a bad drink as long as you make them feel good.

How does Columbus compare to the East Coast?

I love Columbus because people are genuinely nice. Back home, it's more or less just, Give me my drink and shut up. Here, people want to talk about their problems, talk about your problems. You can genuinely be in danger of having a friend for life.

Where do you like to go for a drink?

If I'm not coming here, I like to go to O'Reilly's on High Street. They have great bar food. I dig the dive bars, actually. I try to go where people don't know me.

What do you drink?

I'm a simple guy. I like the Patron Expresso chilled with an icy pond over the top. And I'm a Tanqueray-and-grapefruit guy. If it's too sweet, you're drinking too much of it.

What are your hobbies?

I'm a movie buff - Blockbuster on Tuesdays, I'm there for every new release. I play a lot of chess, tennis, pool.

What's your favorite movie?

My favorite movie of all time is Cocktail. They call me the black Tom Cruise here. [laughs]

The best movie I've seen recently would have to be Inglourious Basterds. As far as dialogue, it was great.

What do you read?

I'm a big sci-fi head. And I love autobiographies. The last one I read was Shirley Chisholm's book.

I also like funny books. Life is too short to be serious all the time. If you come in here and you're not smiling, I'm not serving you. And if you're in a bad mood, let me know and we'll change that around.