Featured bartender: Rebecca Ohmen at Lucky Joe's, BBC and Champion's
Rebecca Ohmen has been bartending since she was 18 and tending bar in Milwaukee for five years. Currently, she works at Lucky Joe's Tiki Room, 196 S. 2nd St., G-Daddy's BBC, 2022 E. North Ave., and Champion's Pub, 2417 N. Bartlett Ave.
As a marathon runner, professional bartender and a self-proclaimed lover of food and drink, Ohmen is no stranger to the concept of balance. She leads a busy, social life, but manages to carve out enough time for long runs and her dog, a yellow lab named Lenny.
We stopped in at Tiki Joe's on a cold winter night, knocked back a couple of warm drinks and asked Ohmen a slew of personal questions.
OMC: Where did you grow up and how did you find your way to Milwaukee?
RO: I grew up in Sun Prairie and moved here to go to UWM. I graduated in 2010 with a degree in kinesiology – exercise and fitness. I worked in the field for a year, but I hated it, so I went back to bartending. Quite the opposite end of the spectrum.
OMC: What do you like about bartending?
RO: I love socializing with people from all different walks of life. I like trying to figure out people through the little bits of information they give me about themselves. It's kind of like eating at a buffet. And who doesn't like a good buffet?
OMC: Doesn't Sun Prairie have a big corn festival every year?
RO: Yes! When I was a kid I looked forward to it so much.
OMC: Do you work out a lot?
RO: I have been in two marathons and I plan to do another one this year. I ran the Wisconsin Marathon in Kenosha and almost ran one in Green Bay but it was canceled because of extreme heat and I had to stop at mile 20. I was devastated. This year, I plan to do the Niagara Falls International Marathon which starts in the United States and finishes in Canada.
OMC: Did you already know how to make tiki drinks before working at Lucky Joe's?
RO: There was definitely a learning curve. I didn't know my rums very well before working here. I've learned a lot. Now, the hardest part is remembering what drink goes in which glass.
OMC: What's your favorite tiki drink to make and what's your favorite to drink?
RO: The Pain Killer (rum, pineapple juice, orange juice and coconut) is my favorite to make. It's really frothy, one of the more indulgent drinks on our menu. My favorite to drink is the South Side Sling. (Rehorst gin, cranberry juice, lime juice and pineapple juice). It has some bite to it.
OMC: Because you work in three bars, on your nights off, do you go out to bars or stay away from bars?
RO: I like to go out. I love to eat, so I like to try new places where I can eat and drink.
OMC: What are some of your favorite Milwaukee restaurants?
RO: I'm a vegetarian, so my most recent favorite is Odd Duck. I've always liked Palomino a lot, too. The toffulo wings are great. I like The Eatery on Farwell, too.
OMC: What else do you like to do in your free time?
RO: I love taking my dog to parks and on the trails.
OMC: What kind of dog do you have? Have you always been a dog person?
RO: He's a yellow lab. His name is Lenny. I am 100 percent a dog person. I used to have a cat, but I had to get rid of it. I mean, I gave him to my parents. I didn't kill him.
OMC: Do you get hit on a lot while working?
RO: Yes. It's the standard.
OMC: Does it get worse the later it gets?
RO: Not necessarily. It seems if it happens once in a night it keeps happening. Like there's something in the air. They come in clusters.
OMC: What was the worst pick-up line you've heard?
RO: I think it was a joke, but "Do I look good or do I need another drink?"
OMC: Do pick-up lines ever work?
RO: It would have to be a really good one. But they do work to engage in conversation.
OMC: What are some of the things on your bucket list?
RO: I want to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I want to travel more. I went to Panama and Costa Rica for two weeks each and it was the best time of my life. In Panama I worked on sea turtle conservation and in Costa Rica I did a lot of hiking, zip-lining, some rappelling.
OMC: Are you addicted to any TV shows?
RO: Yes. First and foremost "Grey's Anatomy." Also, "Breaking Bad." "Mad Men" makes me mad – the sexism – which is also why I like it. I'm in the middle of "Sons of Anarchy." These shows are all so unrealistic which is what makes them exciting.
OMC: Do you like living in Milwaukee?
RO: I love Milwaukee. I love Summerfest. I love the food and the drink, the diversity. Growing up in a small town, I was exposed to fewer types of people. Here, it's like a melting pot.
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