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.