Amber Miller doesn't get a lot of sleep these days. Along with being a full-time student at ASU working toward a master's in public relations, she also works at Sachi Salon & Spa, interns at ABC 15 News, and for the past eight months has been behind the bar at Axis/Radius (7340 E. Indian Plaza, 480-970-1112). You can find the beautiful blonde Friday and Saturday nights at Axis, mixing up tasty drinks and dancing to house music.
How did you get started in bartending?
It was the second time I had ever been to Axis. I was just with some of my girlfriends and I ended up talking to a guy who had bartended there who had the night off. I told him about how I thought it would be really cool to bartend in Scottsdale, but I didn't have any experience, so I didn't really think any of the places would take me. He introduced me to the general manager, who told me to come in the following week for an audition night behind the bar and to give him a guest list of people who'd come in that night. That was basically it -- I didn't know anything; they just totally threw me into it on the audition night. But after looking at the number of people I brought in -- I used to be in a sorority, so I was able to bring in a lot of people that night -- they were impressed with me. So they gave me the job based on the fact that I was good at promoting and looked good behind the bar.
What was the first night like?
It was crazy! I had no idea what I was doing, but everyone was really helpful and showed me everything I needed to do. I had a little bit of serving experience and I also worked as a promo girl for McFadden's in Glendale , but it was totally different than everything I'd ever done before. It was a lot of fun.
So is bartending at Axis more about the drinks you're able to make or the people you're able to bring in?
It's both. We're asked to promote each week and provide a guest list of people we're bringing in, and we also promote through social media. It's just kind of the Scottsdale way, I guess. But it's also about having good conversations with the people you're serving and your presence behind the bar as well as your ability to make the drinks and make the people come back.
What was training like?
I had a huge list of drinks I had to learn how to make, and I was tested on that after I was behind the bar four or five nights. You have to pass it before you're allowed to work for full tips. So those first few nights, my manager was just watching over my shoulder the whole time and giving me tips as far as how to do my job better.
What do you like most about bartending?
I love the atmosphere. People come in after a long work week, and they just want to party. It's a really fun environment to be in. We also bring a new DJ in every weekend. I didn't know a lot about house music until I started working at Axis-Radius, but on Saturdays we have all house music, and I actually love it now. I'm learning so much about this kind of music that I never knew about before.
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What are your least favorite parts of the job?
People who don't tip very well. They don't realize we basically work for tips. The money we charge you for a drink goes to the club, and whatever you tip us is the money we make at the end of the night. Other than that, it's such a fun job for me that there's not a lot about it I don't like.
What do you drink when you're out?
I'm a vodka girl. I make a drink called a Creamsicle that's made with whipped cream-flavored vodka, orange juice and grenadine -- I'll order that a lot when I'm out. I also really like pineapple vodka with Red Bull.
What's your least favorite drink to make?
There's not really a specific drink that's my least favorite, but when someone comes up and orders four different kinds of shots instead of five lemon drops, five red-headed sluts or whatever, it's annoying. I also hate to make stuff that people have made up themselves that I've never heard of before, especially when they don't even know what's in it.
What's been your most memorable night at Axis-Radius?
Maybe when Cascade was there. It was one of the busiest nights I've ever worked. We also had Pauly D. from Jersey Shore -- that was a crazy night too. This Saturday we have The Situation coming in, too. He's going to be introducing his new line of vodka, which is called Devotion. I'm waiting for Snooki to show up one day.