A football fan who enjoys a good microbrew, Corissa Croft may just be the perfect woman. And though still a newbie at Tempe's Robbie Fox's Public House (604 S. Mill Ave., 480-642-6442) she's also not a shabby bartender. The Pittsburgh native can serve drinks, talk sports and do it all with a smile.
How'd you get started bartending?
My first bartending job was at a place in Pittsburgh called the Elbow Room and Bites and Brews. It was a side-by-side wine bar and sports bar that were connected by a door. I served at the wine bar and bartended at the sports bar.
You miss Pittsburgh?
A lot. But somebody said to me once, "You can't shovel sunshine," and that stuck with me. I was trudging through my college campus in two feet of snow, and one day it hit me that this was absolutely insane. At least for college, it wasn't the ideal. When you're going to be outside walking to and from class all day, a blizzard isn't what you want to be doing it in.
When did you start at Robbie Fox's?
This is my fifth day! I was bartending prior to this in Gainey Ranch. It's mostly a retirement community. Our kitchen shut down around 9, our bar closed at 9:30 and I was home by 10. So this is a change of pace for me. I've become very nocturnal.
The crowd's probably a bit different too.
Oh my. Yes. Very much so. Most of my old clients were sleeping at the time these kids are just getting started drinking. It's a change of pace, but I enjoy it very much. I hope it stays that way -- the college crowd can be wearing. But it's so far been nice to be around people my age, because before I felt like I was working in a nursing home.
What's your professional opinion on tipping?
I really have no complaints. Of course, every now and then you're going to get people you don't appreciate. But for the most part I honestly don't even count tips as they come in anymore. I just put them in the bucket. At the end of the night, I'm going to make the same amount of money, and fretting over the dollar or two dollars somebody shorted me really isn't worth it to me anymore.
How does a customer get into your good graces?
Be pleasant! I enjoy people that have a smile on their faces. I've dealt with a lot of grumpy and bitter people. It's hard for me not to have a smile on my face. That's all you need. Whatever's going on in life, it could be worse.
What makes you special?
As a female from Pittsburgh, I love sports, and I like to talk sports. I think a female behind the bar who can keep up with the latest on the draft or whatever, I think men appreciate that.
What's your favorite sport?
Football. I bleed Steeler black and gold. It's in my blood, literally.
Any stories of crazy customers?
This was just the other night. A guy was in here, and he came up to the bar. This was closing time, it was time to go home. He set his beer on the bar and said, "I ordered Guinness, and this tastes like shit!" I looked at his Guinness, and it wasn't a Guinness. It was a car bomb. He had dropped his shot in, and it was completely curdled. He was still drinking it, thinking that his Guinness wasn't tasting quite right.
What do you drink when you go out?
I'm a beer girl, for the most part. I love IPAs. Give me a Sierra Nevada. I enjoy a Newcastle every now and then. Otherwise it's whiskey or a dirty gin martini.
Do you mix up drinks for yourself at home?
Not too often. A six-pack in the fridge works just fine for me.
If there was a drink named after you, what would be in it?
It would be easier to tell you what wouldn't be in it. I don't drink vodka. I don't do anything fruity -- no peach schnapps, no raspberry liqueur, nothing of the sort. It would be something mellow. Some gin, some soda water, maybe a splash of lime juice.
640 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, AZ