We recently sat down with Aisha at Taste Venue to discuss her experience as a bartender, and what makes Taste Venue the go-to spot in downtown Newark, NJ.
Aisha: I’ve been bartending for six years now. I started bartending in college for a friend who was a party promoter and needed help. It was a great way to make extra money while in college. It also really helped me become more confident and outgoing. Prior to bartending, I was extremely shy and reserved.
OBC: What do you like most about bartending?
Aisha: Well at Taste Venue we get a great cross-section of customers. We have a great corporate crowd for happy hour, and we have people who live in the area and make this their local bar. So meeting all these different people with their own unique stories and backgrounds in a city that is relatively small is great, and makes every day interesting and unique.
OBC: What’s the worst thing about bartending?
Aisha: The worst thing would have to be rude customers who seem to forget common etiquette once they come to a bar. People that yell or scream trying to get your attention when it’s busy or — even worse — people who grab your arm from across the bar. Just like in “real world,” you should never grab or touch someone you don’t know just because you want a drink.
On the lighter side, there are times when it might be slow at the beginning of the shift, and you’ve already cleaned everything.
OBC: So what do you do to pass the time?
Aisha: If everything is already cleaned and setup I’ll play Candy Crush until I run out of lives. When that happens, I’ll change the clock on my phone to get more lives.
OBC: What is your favorite drink, and how do you make it?
Aisha: My drink of choice is a Hennessy margarita, but I only drink it if I’ve made it myself. The recipe is my creation, and how I make it is a secret that only I know. But I’m happy to make it for any customer who orders it.
OBC: What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen while bartending?
Aisha: The first thing that comes to mind is a guy who came in during happy hour and order a domestic draft. He drank his beer quickly and asked for the check, which was three dollars. He then proceeded to empty his pocket, which was full of pennies, and wanted me to count them. I politely told him he could put the pennies back in his pocket, and that the beer was on me.
OBC: What sets Taste Venue apart from other bars in the area?
Aisha: With all due respect to the other area establishments, I think we truly offer a great experience. From the beautiful chandelier and décor, the friendly and fun bartending staff, the amazing food, including the best wings in town, and 40 beers on tap. We also have a great group of regulars that make everyone feel welcomed.
OBC: Are there any events coming up that people should know about?
Aisha: In general, if you’re coming for an event at the arena, this should be your first stop for a pre-event drink or meal. We have more seating than any other area restaurants and, off course, great food. With football season coming up, we will be running happy hour specials all day Sunday, Monday and Thursdays for the games, including crab clusters, peel-and-eat shrimp, and soul food. We also recently installed a large screen HD projector in our second dining room for featured games.
Taste Venue is located at 47 Edison Place, Newark, NJ 07102