Elizabeth Gottal has tended bar at Two Bucks since it opened in 2012. Although it was her first bartending job, she previously worked as a server.
Gottal works a combination of day shifts and night shifts and because the crowd is very different depending on the time of day, Gottal gets a taste of both worlds: the low-key neighborhood tavern and the action-packed party-hardy crowd.
"I work Thursday, Friday and Saturday night shifts – the craziest nights of the week – so my day shifts are a nice balance," says Gottal. "During the day, the crowd is a bit older and it’s not as busy and I get to really talk to people."
Recently, OnMilwaukee.com stopped in at Two Bucks and chatted with Gottal about tattoos, traveling, bowling and more.
OnMilwaukee.com: How often do people ask you if something on the menu is really $2?
Elizabeth Gottal: All the time. We do have a lot of $2 drinks, but some of our beers are $3. I wish I could get a tattoo that reads "Everything is $2 ... or $3." Actually, I’m used to it now.
OMC: Speaking of tattoos, what are the stories behind yours?
EG: This one says, "Let it be" and this one says "Hope in a better place" which is from one of my favorite songs by City and Colour. It symbolizes me overcoming something from my past.
And this one is Marilyn Monroe at Day of the Dead. It represents two cultures I grew up with and love the most. I was raised by my mom and my sister. My mom watched a lot of old movies – Rock Hudson and Marilyn – and my sister is very into Mexican and South American culture. She speaks Spanish and taught me about the dancing, music and cooking.
OMC: What is your favorite drink to make?
EG: I go through phases. Right now, I’m really excited that we got in elderflower liqueur. It’s my new favorite to make martinis with.
OMC: What’s your favorite drink to consume?
EG: It depends on who’s working and how hard I want to make them work. I really like ciders a lot. We have Stella Artois Cidre, which is one of my favorites and I really like Crispin Pear in a bottle.
OMG: What do you like to do when you’re not bartending?
EG: I have a dog – a Great Dane / Lab named Dagwood – and he consumes a lot of my life. I like to take him to Roverwest, the dog park near my house in Riverwest.
OMG: How do you like Riverwest?
EG: I love it. A lot of people tried to scare me off from moving there but I have great neighbors. We all know each other and our pets. One of my neighbors recently stopped my car from getting towed at 5 a.m. We also have a neighborhood bowling league. We bowl at Falcon Bowl every Wednesday in the winter.
OMC: Are you a better or worse bowler when drinking?
EG: It doesn't matter. I could get a strike for no reason and then a gutter ball.
OMG: Did you grow up in Milwaukee?
EG: No, I'm originally from Texas. But my family was originally from the Chicago area and we moved there when I was in high school. After high school, a lot of friends moved here, and I eventually did, too. This is one of my favorite places to live.
Milwaukee is a "small town" city. I grew up in big cities – Houston, Chicago – those are great, too, but can be super overwhelming. You can go anywhere in this city and run into someone you know or recognize.
OMC: Anywhere you hope to travel to someday?
EG: I really want to go to Africa. I want to be around the wildlife and the nature and I really want to immerse myself in a culture that’s as far different from American culture as possible. I want to see a different perspective.
I actually just took my first vacation in my entire life at the beginning of the month.
OMC: Where’d you go?
EG: Vegas! We stayed at The Flamingo, an old mobster hotel in the middle of the strip. I won about $700 playing blackjack. I really liked old Vegas a lot, too, and I got to see one of my favorite DJs, Morgan Page, when I was there. I thought I would be terrified because I don’t do well with crowds but it was fun.
OMC: What are some of your favorite bars and restaurants in Milwaukee?
EG: I love Art Bar. It’s near my house and I can bring my dog. On this side of town, I like Yield. I also like the Italian food at Centro Cafe on Center Street. The service is amazing there, too.
OMC: Do you get hit on a lot at work?
EG: Yeah, it’s a college crowd in here at night and there are some bold men who come in here for sure.
OMC: Do you have a rule against dating people you meet at work?
EG: I was with someone before I started working here so it’s not an issue.
OMC: So you ever have to cut people off? And if so, how do you do it?
EG: Sometimes. It depends on the situation. I might close them out without asking and give them their bill and a fake shot. Some people don’t realize they didn't ask to close out and just do it, but once in a while someone flips out.
OMC: Have you ever cleaned up puke?
EG: Nope, we have bouncers here. I’ve had people puke in cups, puke over the bar, puke at me (not intentionally). Puke is a common thing in this industry, but luckily, most of the time people make it to the bathroom.
Molly Snyder grew up on Milwaukee's East Side and today, she lives in the Walker's Point neighborhood with her partner and two sons.
As a full time senior writer, editorial manager and self-described experience junkie, Molly has written thousands of articles about Milwaukee (and a few about New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston and various vacation spots in Wisconsin) that range in subject from where to get the best cup of coffee to an in-depth profile on the survivors of the iconic Norman apartment building that burned down in the '90s.
She also once got a colonic just to report on it, but that's enough on that.
Always told she had a "radio voice," Molly found herself as a regular contributor on FM102, 97WMYX and 1130WISN with her childhood radio favorite, Gene Mueller.
Molly's poetry, essays and articles appeared in many publications including USA Today, The Writer, The Sun Magazine and more. She has a collection of poetry, "Topless," and is slowly writing a memoir.
In 2009, Molly won a Milwaukee Press Club Award. She served as the Narrator / writer-in-residence at the Pfister Hotel from 2013-2014. She is also a story slam-winning storyteller who has performed with The Moth, Ex Fabula and Risk!
When she's not writing, interviewing or mom-ing, Molly teaches tarot card classes, gardens, sits in bars drinking Miller products and dreams of being in a punk band again.