Charlie Chaparas left a 14-year career to work at Camino, 434 S. 2nd St., as a bartender and he couldn’t be more satisfied with his decision. OnMilwaukee recently stopped in to talk to Chaparas about beer, Thailand and (dun dun dun!) the future.
OnMilwaukee: How long have you been working at Camino, and what were you doing before that?
Charlie Chaparas: I started working here in November. Prior to that I worked for Beer Capitol for 14 years. I quit in August with nothing planned and came here one day to have lunch with Casey (the owner). He asked me if I wanted to start bartending again. I said "sure," and the rest is history.
Where did you bartend in the past?
About 15 years ago I worked at Kelly’s Bleachers and O’Brien’s.
What do you like about bartending?
I like the interactions with people – it’s fun. I couldn’t work just anywhere. We have great food, great drinks and a great environment. This is a place I can back and support.
What are your favorite drinks to make and, when you're not working, consume?
After so many years working for Beer Capitol, I’m more of a beer guy. I like to drink Miller High Life mostly, but I like craft beers here and there. I’ve learned a lot about making cocktails since I started here, and now I like to make and drink all different drinks – Old Fashioneds, you name it.
Did you grow up in Milwaukee?
Yep, South Side, 44th and Oklahoma. Graduated from Pius.
What neighborhood do you live in now?
I live on the Northwest Side.
That’s an interesting tattoo on your arm. What does it mean?
I was in Thailand a couple of months ago and got it from a Buddhist monk. It’s a Thai protection tattoo.
What brought you to Thailand?
I had a good friend living there and I went to visit. It was great – saw the ruins, old temples, palaces. Thailand has beautiful beaches, but I'm not really a beach guy.
Thailand was the first stamp in my passport. Someday I want to go to Greece and Prague, which is my heritage.
Any major life goals or taking it one day at a time?
I’m here bartending right now and I love it. I could see myself opening a place in a couple of years. I’m not not looking at anything, but could see it happening someday.
You’re relatively new to the Walker’s Point scene. What do you think?
Yeah, I was always working or going out on the West Side. Walker’s Point is cool. Bartenders from all over the city come here to visit other bartenders. There’s a great community here.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Everything. I love going out. I'm also a creature of habit and find myself here even when I’m not working because ... I like it here.
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.