TLLW Bartender Series #2 - Jayne @ Lucky 7
This is post #2 of our TLLW Bartender series, where I get to interview local bartenders in the Jersey City bar scene, with a lean towards “whiskier” topics.
Today’s bartender series post is about Lucky 7’s very own Jayne! Considered one of JC’s local dive bars, it seems like Lucky 7 Tavern has been around for ages. They hold a BBQ block party every summer with live bands, lawn chairs, and kiddie pool on 2nd St. The bar vibe is always laid back and chill, welcoming to both newcomers and regulars alike with their cheap drinks and daily specials. If I had to choose what my neighborhood bar is, it’d be Lucky 7, hands down. To me, Jayne is part of Lucky 7s identity with her easy smile and approachable manner. She started at Lucky 7 in 2005 and has been pouring drinks since.
I served beers and Jack and Cokes, got thrown right into it, and went home with a few hundred dollars my first day. I thought, “This is amazing.”
Read on for more on Jayne:
How did you get into bartending / the restaurant industry?
I was 19 years old and wanted to get a job as a cocktail waitress. I thought it’d be cool to be a cocktail server in the city so I applied for a few jobs there and applied for a couple in New Jersey. While applying, I walked into a go-go bar figuring it would have cocktail service but they didn’t. However they had just fired their bartender at the bar and they asked me if I was interested in bartending instead. I told them I had no experience bartending at all and that I didn’t know if I could do it. But the girl that I spoke with just said to come back at 7 o’clock that night, wear black, dress sexy, and that she would show me everything I need to know. She claimed it was really easy there and it was really easy there! I served beers and Jack and Cokes, got thrown right into it, and went home with a few hundred dollars my first day. I thought, “This is amazing.”
Do you agree that there’s an increasing trend with whiskey now?
I actually think there was an increasing trend 2 or 3 years ago, and it has since stabilized and stayed. Now it’s the norm. I’m seeing other trends and I’m curious to see if it will stay like whiskey as stayed.
What other trends are you seeing now?
Apéritifs and digestifs such as Fernet. And also gin with people ordering Negroni cocktails. That’s new, at least for Lucky 7. I wonder if it will hold up like whiskey has held up with its rising popularity.
What is your favorite whiskey drink to serve?
I’m a purist and I’m like that with food too. So long as it’s good quality, you can enjoy it for what it is. A high quality whiskey, neat, is always a nice sipping drink.
What whiskey do you keep at home, if any?
I keep Irish whiskey at home. Powers and Jameson are staples. But I always have bourbon for those times that people are over and they like bourbon. For them, I’ll usually keep Bulleit or Buffalo [Trace].
Do you see more women drinking whiskey?
Yes. It was a trend I saw a while ago and it appears to be staying. In the past 10 years I’ve seen women drinking artificially flavored vodkas, which I’m not really into to. So to see things go back to basics - drinking things without fluffing it up and doctoring it with different flavors - is really nice. I like seeing how women’s palates have changed over time.
What whiskey do you find yourself recommending the most to people at work?
It depends on whether they’re an Irish whiskey person or an American whiskey person. If they drink Irish whiskey and they’re into Jameson, I’ll give them Powers. I made that switch. I used to drink Jameson a lot and then I switched to Powers. I think it’s similar [to Jameson]; really smooth and a good alternative. If they’re drinking American whiskey, we have so many of them here to choose from. Sometimes I go for Buffalo Trace which is nice because it has vanilla [notes] in it. If they’re looking for something new, I recommend Hudson Baby Bourbon. It’s novel, it’s made in New York State, and that’s really cool. I usually ask what they normally drink and go from there.
A veteran bartendress with a taste for Irish whiskey? Hard not to like. I came across a bottle of Jameson Cooper’s Croze today and wondered if I’ll see it at Lucky’s with Jayne recommending soon. I’m looking forward to finding out!