Tim Sluga is a between-life-events bartender. In 2010, he returned to college and after recently graduating, his friend Diane Dowland offered him a gig at her bar, The Monkey Bar.
Sluga, who has lived most of his life in Oak Creek, started slinging drinks about three months ago. Although The Monkey Bar is probably just a pit stop in his professional life, he’s finding out a lot about people, drink making and the near South Side. He's also hoping to someday serve The Milverine.
OnMilwaukee.com: So you recently graduated from college?
Tim Sluga: Yeah, I went to Oshkosh. I got a degree in journalism with a PR emphasis. Diane helped me come back to Milwaukee. She gave me this job while I’m looking for work.
I’ve been friends with Diane for over 10 years. I met her at the old 2nd Street location. The first night we were there she brought out banana liqueur and we mixed it with Tabasco to make "banana fires" and then we took masking tape and made tape beards and Timmy was blowing fire and ... it was all just so perfect.
OMC: What were you doing before you went back to college?
TS: Landscaping-garbage-part-time-bookshop nonsense.
OMC: What kind of work do you hope to find?
TS: I like to write. I need practice. Maybe a social media job.
OMC: Facebook or Twitter?
TS: I have more friends on Facebook. I’m "Früit Helmet" on Facebook. I’m an idiot. I post nonsense.
OMC: Like what?
TS: Articles that are ridiculous. Like the other day a dude ran into his burning building to get his beer out. So many people take themselves so seriously on social media it’s fun to go on there with whatever.
OMC: Who are your favorite writers?
TS: Bret Easton Ellis. But his new stuff does not touch his older books. "American Psycho?" Excellent. But his new book, "Imperial Bedrooms," is basically him yelling at guys for their reviews of "Less Than Zero" (Ellis’ first book). I bought it in hardcover and I was pissed.
I also like Bukowski because I’m a male and I’m struggling. If you’ve had doubts or struggles you get exactly what he’s saying. Plus, it’s fun to read about his depravity.
I’m also reading a lot of sci-fi and horror comics from the 40s and 50s.
OMC: What do you like about working happy hour shifts?
TS: I don’t have to play 50 rounds of bar dice and get totally smashed every night. The shifts are slower, more couples and random weirdos – who are awesome.
OMC: Tell me about these random, awesome weirdos.
TS: Well, the Milverine walks by every day. He hasn’t stopped in, but I really want him to come in and drink a Pabst sometime.
The most bizarre guy came in here on a Tuesday afternoon and he was completely sunburnt and he threw a $100 bill on the bar and started talking gibberish about how Jesus put straws in his eyes so he could see.
OMC: Have you ever seen or done anything embarrassing here?
TS: Oh, yeah. I’ll just go with this: a woman came here from Brookfield on a blind date and she was waiting and waiting and finally got a text from the guy and she realized when he said to meet at "The Monkey" he meant the Brass Monkey on Layton – not here.
OMC: Do you get hit on often here?
TS: Not too much, but a couple of times. Once the person was attractive, so it was alright, but another time, not to be mean, but no. Just no. I’m never a jerk about it, but I will make it known that we can drink and party but this isn’t going anywhere.
OMC: How do you like living in Oak Creek?
TS: I would like to move down here. Walker’s Point has changed so much, even since I went back to college in 2010. I just went to Blue Jacket for brunch and Ginger for dinner, which was awesome, and Lucky Joe’s right across the street … It’s a great time to be in this area.
OMC: This is a lot of Lou Reed we’re listening to.
TS: Been listening all day.
OMC: Lou’s dead.
TS: So I heard.
OMC: What else do you like to listen to?
TS: I like music that’s grimy. Not overproduced. Music with mistakes. And I’m a metalhead. Milwaukee used to be a metal town. Not so much anymore.
OMC: Have you ever been to Milwaukee's metal bar / Mexican restaurant, Rockotlan?
TS: Yes, the owner is awesome. And so are the drinks – like the Iron Maiden that costs $6.66.
OMC: So what’s your favorite drink to make?
TS: I am getting better at bloodies. But giving someone a 16-ounce Pabst is probably my favorite. And my favorite to drink.
OMC: What else do you drink?
TS: Wild Turkey and Tabasco is my go-to shot. I’m not picky. I’m a partier. I’m from Milwaukee. I can crush the worst beer you can give me or the best local craft beer.
OMC: So what’s your two cents on life, Früit Helmet?
TS: I like seeing where life takes me. That’s when the weirdest sh*t happens.
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.