Bartenders & Baristas: Amy Ziegler of the British Open Pub
By Wynter Holden
38-year-old bar manager Amy Ziegler is a tall, slender, no-nonsense blonde who looks like she could do some serious damage to any boozehound who treats her like a Coyote Ugly babe. As a kid she dreamed of being a ballet dancer, but as she cockily points out there isn’t much of a market for 6-foot-tall ballerinas. Instead, Ziegler opted for a different kind of dance, pouring pints and dodging propositions from flirtatious patrons at the British Open Pub with equal grace.
Chow Bella: What’s your favorite drink? Amy Ziegler: Stoli Orange and Seven.
CB: Is there a drink that you cringe at the thought of making? AZ: Yes, an “Adios Motherfucker!” It has the same ingredients as a Long Island Iced Tea, with blue Curacao as well. The name says it all. I dread serving those because I know that someone’s on a mission…to get totally wasted.
CB: What did you do before you became a bartender? AZ: I was a hairstylist. I did my apprenticeship at Vidal Sassoon. That’s actually one of my Sassoon “senseis” over there at the bar [points to a cute and very mysterious-looking Asian guy]. While I was doing my apprenticeship, I worked here part time. The amount of money I made for 40 hours cutting hair, I could potentially make here in one night. I was at a point in my life where I was tired of scratching and crawling to get by. [Bartending] provided an easier lifestyle.
CB: So how much do you make in tips on a good night? AZ: On the record? About $200.
CB: How do you feel about turning forty? AZ: It sounds old to me. I hope that there’s some wonder cream out there! I feel old when I card people and they could be my child. I’m like, oh my God; I could’ve had you in high school. Holy sh*t! Lately, I really have felt a lot older. I got to do a lot of traveling though, and I’m glad about that.
CB: What was the best trip you went on? AZ: I traveled through Southeast Asia for 14 months. When I was in Nepal, I met some Israelis that I traveled with; these girls had been on the road for 5 years. They asked me if I wanted to go to Japan and work in a chess club. What I would have to do is basically light cigars and speak English. No touching, nothing sexual. So I went, worked in Japan for 4 weeks, made $4,000 and stayed traveling for another five months.
CB: What's the craziest thing you've seen at the British Open? You know, the kind of image that will be burned into your brain forever? AZ: It was Halloween here – four years ago, an Olympic year - and at midnight we always do judging for the best costume. That year I saw some of the best costumes I’ve ever seen. We had a Jolly Green Giant and Sprout. Two regulars, one who was about 6’2” and the other 4’10”. We had a zombie crew. But my favorite was…First, let me set the stage. It was a little chilly out that night. Really cold. The doors open and my favorite regular comes in dressed as Mark Spitz, wearing nothing but a towel around his neck, a swimming cap and goggles and an itsy bitsy teeny weenie banana hammock Speedo. That’s why I love this place…I love the individuality. That one still makes me laugh out loud.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.
More RESTAURANTS News
- Hidden Track Bottle Shop: Boutique Wine Store to Open This Summer in Downtown
- The Taco and Dilla Parlor: Luncha Libre Food Truck Goes Brick-and-Mortar
- Westward Brewing Co. in Central Phoenix Will Open Later This Summer — Here's a Peek Inside
- 100 Favorite Dishes 2015: Pork Chop at Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe