Featured bartender: Tank at redbar, O'Lydia's
Tank is no stranger to the service industry. She worked at Elsa's on the Park for five years and currently works at redbar, 2245 E. St. Francis Ave., and O'Lydia's, 338 S. 1st St.
But her days working – and living – in Milwaukee are numbered, as she plans to move to Fargo, N.D., in early 2013 with her girlfriend.
In the meantime, however, Tank'll be slinging drinks and playing bar dice. So go visit her. She's makes a mean Old Fashioned and she's quite funny.
OnMilwaukee.com: So how long have you gone by "Tank?"
Jessie Tank: Since high school. It's actually my last name, but my first name is Jessie – not Jessica – and yet people always insist on calling me "Jessica" and it pisses me off.
OMC: So why did your parents name you Jessie and not Jessica?
JT: I have no idea. I have a brother, Joshua, but they did the same thing with my sister: she's Mandy and not Amanda.
OMC: Where did you grow up?
JT: Mukwonago. It was your average "tomboy who got the heck out" story. I went to college in Florida at Full Sail University for film and video production. If you're a geek, you should go there. I had a lot of fun in Florida until I realized I'm a ginger and don't get along with the sun.
OMC: What do you like to do when you're not working?
JT: I'm not gonna lie to you. I like to drink. I also like to play board games for hours on my days off. I used to be in a band called Damn Sexy, an original blues / rock band with a funk twinge. I play bass and guitar. But the band went too heavy metal for me, so I just bought a banjo and am learning to play that now.
OMC: What do you like about tending bar?
JT: It's just fun. I worked at Elsa's as a server for five years. It was a good experience. Taught me a lot about self-control and how to talk to people, but I prefer entertaining people, making them laugh, being stupid. It's more me. And I can't do desk jobs. I tried. It doesn't work.
OMC: What are your goals?
JT: Originally, I wanted to be a film editor, but I lost interest in that. I would like to return to school, get a business degree and open my own small, neighborhood bar someday. I'm planning to move to Fargo. My girlfriend's grandparents live there. They raised her and they recently went into assisted living. We want to be closer to them.
OMC: Have you been there? Have you seen the movie?
JT: Yes and yes. I went there for four days recently and lost two weeks' pay gambling.
OMC: What are your favorite drinks to make?
JT: I'm partial to Bloody Marys and Old Fashioneds. Unless I'm very busy. I'll still do it, though. I like making anything I can put my own spin on.
OMC: So what's the secret to a good Bloody Mary?
JT: I always put a splash of Guinness on top. And you have to ask a lot of questions when someone orders it to find out exactly how spicy they want it, whether or not they like horseradish, that kind of thing.
OMC: Do you serve your Bloodys with a chaser?
OMC: Will you introduce Fargo to the concept of chasers and brandy Old Fashioneds?
JT: I'm really gonna try. And 44 North vodka. It's made in Idaho, and comes all the way to Wisconsin, but they forget to stop off in Fargo. It's one of my favorite drinks along with Pabst. I'm very simple.
Carrie Wisniewski (redbar owner sitting at bar): I'll send you a care package.
JT: Ah, ha! Another reason why I love redbar: I have a great boss!
OMC: What else will you miss about Milwaukee?
JT: Bar dice. The culture here in general, and so many people. But mostly bar dice.
OMC: What do you think about the lesbian bar scene in Milwaukee?
JT: I tend to stay away from them. Nothing against Milwaukee's lesbian bars; I have found some in other places to be cliquey and turf-oriented. I like being around a variety of different people.
OMC: I've seen you working a few times and you always have on a clever T-shirt. Are you a T-shirt collector?
JT: Yeah. My girlfriend says I'm going to need a U-Haul just for my shirts.
OMC: What don't you like about bartending? Douche bags?
JT: Douche bags I can totally deal with. I can't stand, however, working behind the bar with other people when it's busy. I like to get rambunctious and jump around and they just get in my way.
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