At first, Aric Weston, who pours at Branded and The Yard at the Iron Horse Hotel, didn't want to conduct this interview. Weston is modest, despite his expertise behind the bar and his great haircut. But in the end, he came around, bought us whiskeys, introduced us to delicious Italian Amarena Fabbri cherries and provided some great responses to our questions.
Originally from West Bend, Weston is quick with his pour and yet calm and focused behind the bar. He has big plans for the future and yet is satisfied with where he is for now.
After working in numerous Brew City clubs, Weston believes his current position is the best fit for him. Here's why Weston believes that, and much more.
OnMilwaukee.com: When did you start tending bar?
Aric Weston: I started bartending when I moved to Milwaukee in 2001. I have been here, at Branded, for a little over a year. I started out at Sauce, then opened Eve, Tangerine, Kennedy's, 720. I worked at a variety of places, all of which were clubs. I was a little bit younger then. And I'm just a little bit older now. (Smiling.)
OMC: How old are you and how has age affected your career?
AW: I'm 36, and I really enjoy my work, but a place like Branded is a better fit for me now. It's friendly and relaxed. I serve grown ups now. It's nice.
OMC: You also work outdoors at The Yard, right?
AW: Yes. It's a really different experience working out there. It's fun but I like working in here better. I like having walls.
OMC: What's your favorite drink to mix?
AW: Manhattan. It's a classic cocktail. It's my favorite to make and to drink. I enjoy making cocktails that have at least two or three ingredients in them. On our special cocktail menu, my favorite is the Ginger Snap. It's made with Rehorst gin, fresh mint, lime juice, ginger liqueur and a splash of ginger beer.
OMC: What's the worst pick-up line you've heard?
AW: Aren't they all bad? (Turns to other bartender) What's the worst pick-up line you've heard, Aaron?
Aaron: Recently, a guy came down here from the hotel and bought some chips and then said, "You wanna come back to my room and eat my chips with me?" I found that extremely creepy.
OMC: Have you ever cleaned up puke?
AW: I have not. I have worked with people who have, but somehow, I never had to. And that's definitely not something I have to deal with here.
OMC: What do you like to do when you're not working?
AW: I used to go out a lot, but these days, I'm more of a homebody. I like to have friends over to cook, watch movies, have drinks. I have a lot of thoughts about the future these days, too. I'm pretty creative and there are so many things I still plan on doing. I've been studying graphics and design and I'm really interested in furniture and furniture design.
OMC: Are you single?
AW: Yes. For now, I'm not looking. I like being single. It's less frustrating, believe it or not. And some people can date whomever. I, however, have very few matches "out there." For me to be in a relationship, I would have to find someone who is the right amount just like me and the right amount not like me. But I'm in no hurry.
OMC: You seem very social and relaxed around people. What do you think about Facebook?
AW: I waste time on there everyday. It's the first thing I do in the morning. But I also see it as a terrible thing.
OMC: Do you eat at Conejito's a lot, considering you're right across the street?
AW: I've definitely had their chips and margaritas, but I can't eat their food because their beans have lard in them.
OMC: Are you a vegetarian or a vegan?
AW: I'm a vegetarian. Vegans are miserable and unhappy. (Smiling). They think they're better than everyone else. Here's a joke: How many vegans does it take to change a light bulb? (Right away, before I can answer) I'm better than you!
OMC: How do you cut people off who have clearly had enough to drink?
AW: I usually make eye contact with their friends, or one of their friends, and get them to make it clear they've had enough. Or I might take their order and then they get distracted and don't notice I didn't bring them a drink. I'm lucky in that I have never been in a bad situation. I always seem to somehow see eye-to-eye with a drunk.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.