By Marah Morrison
Located in downtown Youngstown, Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts, Circle Hookah and Bar, The Federal and Roberto’s are the homes of new and experienced bartenders. Not only do these bartenders enjoy what they do, but what they pour can be enjoyable for both them and their customers.
Kayla Creech, the opening bartender at Suzie’s, has been a bartender for seven years and has worked at Suzie’s for about seven months. She is originally from Georgia where she worked as a bartender in Atlanta nightclubs. Creech enjoys making new drinks and learning new recipes to sell and promote for the business.
Creech said Suzie’s is currently getting ready to change their regular drink menu to their fall menu, even though their draft menu itself changes every week.
Creech said some of the popular cocktails and craft beers served at Suzie’s include the Apple Crisp Mule and the Peach Cosmo, as well as the Avery White Rascal, a Belgian white ale and the Voodoo Love Child, a Belgian style ale brewed over fruit.
Creech said the more you know about alcohol, the better off you will be as a bartender. One of Creech’s favorite drinks to make for indecisive customers is the Georgia Peach Martini, which she said is not too strong and on the sweeter side.
“That’s my go-to drink,” Creech said. “It’s peach vodka, cranberry juice, pineapple juice, with just a small splash of grenadine.”
Creech said she also knows how to make a good margarita as well. Even though the menu has grown to be vast, she said she can almost make anything – and if she can’t make it, Google is always a quick tool.
Creech said being a bartender is a lot of fun but definitely a lot of work, especially on busy nights. She said she turns a lot of first-time guests into regular guests because they like the atmosphere and her vibe.
Kailyn Coleman is currently working as a bartender at Circle Hookah and Bar. New to the profession, he has been working as a bartender for only a week. Coleman said he enjoys this profession already because he is a people person.
Coleman said the most popular drinks he’s served to customers so far have been shots of Hennessy and gin and tonic. Coleman said to be a good bartender, you have to break out of your shell and be less introverted.
“You have to want to learn the alcohol if you don’t already know the alcohol,” Coleman said. “Just be open to experience new things and meet people.”
Eric Carano, a bartender at The Federal, enjoys making Dirty Martinis and Long Island Iced Teas for his customers. Carano has been a bartender since 2001 and enjoys meeting new people.
Although Carano doesn’t enjoy the hours, he said he enjoys the atmosphere at The Federal and what they have to offer.
“We have a lot to offer as far as cocktails,” Carano said. “We have a huge beer selection and great tap selection, so we definitely have a little bit of something for everyone.”
John Wardle, a bartender at Roberto’s, enjoys making Old-Fashioneds, Manhattans and anything bourbon or whiskey related for his customers. Wardle said a lot of martinis and wine are sold at Roberto’s and classic cocktails are as well.
Wardle has been bartending off and on for about eight years and said he loves everything about the profession.
“Bartending is my favorite,” Wardle said. “I love the interaction with people and making drinks.”