New Berlin native Alex Makal has only bartended at one place, Flannery’s in Downtown Milwaukee. The sports fan likes her regulars and the conversations they bring – even if she was too nervous to speak with Aaron Rodgers when he visited her bar a few years ago.
That, however, didn’t prevent the huge sports fan from getting her message to No. 12, on TV. Makal explains that story and more in this latest bartender profile.
OnMilwaukee:com How long have you been a bartender?
Alex Makal: I started waitressing here six years ago, and I’ve been a bartender for three. It’s the only place I’ve ever bartended. I’ve been here since I was 19.
OMC: Why Flannery’s?
AM: I was hunting for jobs one day while I was in college, and it was a good waitressing job. People kind of become family here. I still waitress on Tuesdays, but I like bartending better.
OMC: Why is it better?
AM: I get to talk to people more, which is more fun.
OMC: Are there daytime or nighttime regulars at this bar?
AM: Both. More nighttime, though, that come in on a daily basis and sit in the same spot.
OMC: What’s your signature drink?
AM: The purple pony ride. It’s orange vodka, lemonade and a splash of grape soda.
OMC: Did you invent that?
OMC: What’s your least favorite drink to make?
AM: We don’t make a lot of martinis here, so I guess that.
OMC: Based on your Twitter name, @vodkalemonades, I’m guessing that’s what you drink.
AM: I stick to that, but I like pale ales, too.
OMC: Do you drink when you bartend?
AM: Occasionally, but I work six days a week, so if I drink every day, it would be pretty exhausting. Doing a few shots and bartending makes it a little easier, but you have to learn to say no.
OMC: Is this your full-time job?
AM: It is. I have my teaching degree but this is where I’m happy right now. I like bartending. I like customer service more than I like teaching.
OMC: Have you ever served a celebrity?
AM: I’ve never bartended to a celebrity, but Aaron Rodgers was in here about two years ago. I got pretty starstruck about that.
OMC: Speaking of Rodgers, you have a story about him, right?
AM: TMJ4 cornered me here for their "Ask Aaron" segment. I asked him what he liked most about being a quarterback. He said, "Doing these questions with you."
OMC: Are you a Packers fan?
AM: I’m a huge Packers fan. I didn’t meet Aaron when he was here, I didn’t want to bother him. He was pretty chill, sitting in the corner with a hat on. He was talking to people but it was obvious he wasn’t looking for attention.
OMC: Who are better tippers, men or women?
AM: Honestly, I think it’s pretty even. I know that’s kind of a cop-out answer.
OMC: What’s the best tip you ever received?
AM: I had a $400 bill and I got 25 percent tip on that.
OMC: Do you hear a lot of pick-up lines?
AM: Yeah, it’s pretty funny. They work once in a while. The worst ones are the guys obviously talking to the disinterested girl. It’s kind of embarrassing.
OMC: Where do you drink when you’re not bartending?
AM: I go to the Irish Pub, Taylor’s, the Harp. Especially in the summer.
Andy is the founder and co-owner of OnMilwaukee.com. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.