The lunch rush is over and the happy hour crowd won't start filing in for another couple of hours.
At many bar/restaurants, this period would be known as a "lull in the action."
Not at Paulie's Pub and Eatery.
It's the middle of a day in the middle of the week and bartender Kelly Vick welcomes a steady stream of customers -- regulars and a few first-timers -- with a friendly smile and quick service.
One man walks in, smiles, says "Hello" and removes his jacket. By the time he hits the barstool, Vick has poured him his usual -- a pint of Miller Lite and a shot of Goldschlager.
"She knows how to take care of me," the man says.
Vick is a favorite at Paulie's, 8031 W. Greenfield Ave. in West Allis, for nearly five years and is a customer favorite. In the midst of her quest to stave off thirst and fight off the effects of a Fat Tuesday party, we talked to her about her job:
OMC: How long have you been a bartender?
KV: I've been doing this for about seven years. I worked 2½ years at Monreal's in Wauwatosa and then I came here.
OMC: What is your signature drink?
KV: Probably some sort of Bomb. We make them with UV cherry vodka, UV blue, and lemonade. If you pour it right, it separates and you get red, white and blue. We make a lot of those.
OMC: What's the strangest thing you've seen a patron do?
KV: It just happened a few weeks ago. We told this guy that we were cutting him off and he had to leave. He climbed up on the bar and screamed "If you're cutting me off, I'm going to kill myself!" and then he did a swan dive off the bar. It was bizarre. He didn't hurt himself. And, he was escorted out.
OMC: Have you ever had to break up a fight?
KV: Yes. There have been a few. The guys are usually pretty understanding about it and will listen to me. Typically, the girls are a little rougher.
OMC: You've had fights between girls?
KV: A few. They really go at it.
OMC: What do you like most and least about bartending?
KV: The best part is getting to know people. I'm an outgoing person and I love talking to people. The worst is not having a normal life. The hours can be strange.
OMC: Do you go out to bars when you're not working?
KV: Yes. That's what my friends do. I like to go to the East Side. I like to go to the Nomad, Jo-Cats and places like that or Elsa's or wherever my friends feel like going.
Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at OnMilwaukee.com. Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.