Featured bartender: Allison Vraa of Whiskey River Saloon
Allison Vraa isn't your typical veteran drink-slinger, but she knows her way around the business end of a bar. She's got four years under her belt and has been at Whiskey River since the Old World 3rd Street bar (formerly Bootleggers) opened last November.
OnMilwaukee.com: How long have you been tending bar and how long have you been at your bar?
Allison Vraa: I've been tending bar for just shy of four years. I've been at Whiskey River since it opened in November.
OMC: How did you get started?
AV: I worked at a pub and restaurant on the South Side waiting tables and once a few bartenders quit I got promoted to bartender.
OMC: Do you prefer nights, days or weekends?
AV: Friday and Saturday nights. That's where the action's at.
OMC: What's your favorite drink to make?
AV: Bottled beer.
OMC: What's your least favorite drink to make?
AV: I hate the "Hmmm, I dunno! Make me something good!" order because y idea of a good drink might not be the same as yours. If you substitute the word "good" for "fruity" chances are you'll have a glass filled with some flavored vodka, 3 different kinds of juice and grenadine. It might taste good at the time but your stomach will hate me in the morning.
OMC: What do you like most about Whiskey River?
AV: We just opened our roof top bar and patio and it's a great place for happy hour.
OMC: Have you ever had to clean up puke or break up a fight?
AV: No. I tell customers who seem on their way that if they puke they have to clean it up themselves. That's usually followed by them ordering a water. As far as fights go, I leave that that to our security staff.
OMC: What's the worst pick-up line you have heard – and do any of them work?
AV: I wouldn't say it was a pick-up line, as much as it was a pick-up attempt. I refused to accept a guys number due to the fact he was wearing a wedding band. That was followed by him shoving his ring in his mouth and mumbling, "what ring?" Class.
OMC: How do you know when to cut people off and how do you go about not serving them anymore?
AV: When a customer orders a Miller Lite and it's pronounced with one syllable is a pretty good indicator that they shouldn't have had their last drink, or two. I put a water down in front of them and if they get fussy I get Nolan (the manager).
OMC: Do you drink behind the bar?
AV: Sometimes ... it makes things interesting.
OMC: What's a fair tip?
AV: Depends. If you're getting free drinks or specials I tip as if my drinks were full price but 18-20% is generally a good rule of thumb. If your bartender/server shows you an extra good time, tip a little more.
OMC: When you're not working, what do you like to do?
AV: Well, I'm a full time student so between class and work I don't get a lot of free time. When I do I spend time drinking with friends or hanging with the fam.
OMC: What's your favorite bar, besides your own?
AV: Milwaukee Brat House. The staff there is great and is a lot of fun. If you haven't been there I'd strongly recommend you stop there, after Whiskey River, of course.
OMC: What do you drink when you're on the other side of the bar?
AV: Kettle one press with lemon and lime or wine.
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I love whiskey River Saloon. They have great happy hour specials and Allison is one of the awesome bartenders there. I always go there prior to Bradley Center events for drink & food.
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