"Bar Month" at OnMilwaukee.com – brought to you by Stoli Vodka, Altos Tequila, Fireball, OR-G, Jim Beam, Plymouth Gin and 2 Gingers – is back for another round! The whole month of February, we're serving up intoxicatingly fun articles on bars and clubs – including guides, the latest trends, bar reviews, the results of our Best of Bars poll and more. Grab a designated driver and dive in!
There aren’t many bars in Milwaukee where no money changes hands, you don’t order your own drinks and all of the imbibing goes on in the middle of the day.
But that’s the world of Lisa Semerad, a bartender at the Miller Inn, the last stop on the Miller Brewery Tour at 4251 W. State St. Her customers are always in a great mood, and for Semerad, Miller is a family tradition. No wonder she loves her job.
OnMilwaukee.com: Have you bartended other than here?
Lisa Semerad: Yes, I have. At little corner, ma and pop places in West Allis.
OMC: How did you find yourself at the Miller Inn?
LS: My father worked here for 30 years.
OMC: Oh, so it's like a family tradition?
OMC: What’s it like bartending in a bar that there's no money changing hands? Can people buy drinks here?
LS: No, they cannot.
OMC: OK, what's it like bartending at a place where no one can buy a drink?
LS: It's a great experience, because, you get to meet people from all over the world.
OMC: What’s an average shift like for you?
LS: You get to have guests sample our new beers. Ask their feedback from the beer experience. This building is awesome. The route is awesome. They can see the history that's here. There's a lot of history.
OMC: It must be easier than regular bartending because you don't have to make any cocktails, right?
LS: Correct, yes. I like cocktails, but I'd rather pour beer and serve it to a guest and explain how the product was made.
OMC: Are you a Miller drinker yourself?
LS: I am. I drink High Life.
OMC: Everyone’s probably in a good mood when they get here, which must be different than your West Allis bartending job, right?
OMC: Is that nice to have a bunch of happy friendly people coming in and drinking?
LS: Yes, it is.
OMC: Do people try to keep drinking after they get their free beers?
LS: No, they're pretty good about that. We bring out the first sample, Miller Light. The second one, The High Life, and then usually we choose whatever is seasonal, and it's for the third one. They are very happy with it.
OMC: Is it weird to be a bartender in the middle of the day?
LS: No, not at all.
OMC: What is the best part about being a bartender?
LS: Getting to meet new people every day.
OMC: Have you met any celebrities or interesting people while tending bar?
LS: Yes, I have. The great-grandson of Fredrick Miller. It was really cool. He had some good stories.
OMC: What was the worst experience you ever had tending bar? Not just here, anywhere.
LS: Throwing up, maybe.
OMC: Where do you drink when your not tending bar?
LS: Usually home. That's the safest.
Andy is the founder and co-owner of OnMilwaukee.com. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.