Laura Rose, bartender at Tempe's Yucca Tap Room and and Team Lead for the Phoenix New Times Street Team, is as far from the stereotype of a female bartender as you can get. The petite blonde 23-year-old oozes corn-fed Midwestern innocence out of every pore. Not to say she's a goody two shoes...
This bartending beauty has a nose ring and a large seascape tattoo. And one nearby customer promised that if I tossed five bucks his way, he'd give us the dirt on Laura. (Sadly, I was short on cash.)
Laura can regularly be found pouring draft beers with a hundred megawatt smile at Yucca's snazzy new expansion -- a brighter, cleaner space with pool tables and a giant beer cooler next door to the original bar.
What was the first drink you ever ordered?
I was out at a bar with my boyfriend at the time and he ordered me an amaretto sour. I'd been drinking Miller High Life, so I didn't know what to order. I remember drinking it and thinking 'this is terrible! I'm never going to drink this again!'
What's your favorite, and least favorite, drink?
The only thing I try to stay away from, unless I'm prepared for it, is tequila.
I go through stages. In high school, I would drink whiskey with my friends. Then I went through years where I couldn't even smell whiskey! I'm on a Jäger downward spiral right now.
How'd you get into bartending?
I'd been in working in restaurants and bars for a while. I left one bar to go work at another and the original bar asked me to stay and said I could be a bartender. I said no, but I told my new bar about it and they made me a bartender. It seemed like it was a trick, but it worked out really well.
What's the benefit of working at a small bar, rather than a resort or a nightclub?
I like people who are just coming in to be calm, be relaxed, have a good drink. I don't to want to have to deal with people who buy a $12 glass of wine and tell me that their glass is dirty or it's not good or whatever. I like the more simple approach to going out.
Favorite drink to make?
I really like making Bloody Marys. I like that you can change it so many ways to make it original. You can adjust it to people's taste preferences. It takes a little more work, but I think it's worth it. I love Bloody Mary bars. I was going through this phase of weird liquors to put in Bloody Marys once, and bacon was one of them. That just seemed weird, bacon vodka.
Do you have any flairtending moves?
There was a point when I first started bartending where I could do some little spins, but I've always just worked at basic places, pubs. Nobody cares if I'm flipping bottles. They just want a good drink.
Would you ever date someone you met at a bar?
I would. Well, I have. At this bar I worked at in Iowa, it was like everyone was a big group of friends and I dated a few guys I met there. Not seriously, but I hung out with a few guys after work. At Yucca, I'm just not in "date mode" when I'm working. My friends all say it's the perfect place to meet someone because there are so many guys, and I'm like, "no!"
Where would we find you after hours?
I'm a big fan of patio drinking. I live down the street from Casey Moore's, so I'm usually here or there.
Have you ever seen any ghosts there?
No, I haven't. I'm a huge sucker for that stuff. I'm afraid of my own shadow!! I have a few friends who stayed the night so they could have haunting experiences. They said there were things that happened, but I don't know. I'll believe it when I see it.