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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Hey Barkeep!: Che’s Lounge’s bartender loves to serve T-locs

    Zi Yang Lai

    Jeronimo Madril, a bartender at Che’s Lounge, poses for a photo while talking about his bartending experience. The lounge is located at 350 N. Fourth Ave. Madril said he enjoys making watermelon margaritas.

    In this week’s edition of “Hey, Barkeep!” Jeronimo Madril from Che’s Lounge talks watermelon margaritas and getting “in the zone” when the bar gets packed with patrons.

    The Daily Wildcat: How long have you been bartending?

    Madril: I’ve been bartending [for] about two years. I started as a bar-back, so I’ve been here for almost four now.

    How did you decide you wanted to start bartending here?

    Well, being at Che’s, we’re a very tight family here and it’s one of those things where you’re asked to work here. So when I was given the opportunity, I took it [and] ran with it to see how I felt about it. I’ve worked in kitchens my entire life, so I just kind of went with it, ‘cause I’ve always wanted to work here. I’ve always heard great things about this place, and it’s a wonderful sense. It’s a great family to work for—the owners, they’re super nice people and very understanding.

    What do you like most about bartending?

    Interacting with people. You know, we’ll talk and socialize. And just getting to know my customers on a much closer level than I ever could as a cook. 

    Do you have a favorite drink to make?

    I really enjoy making the watermelon margaritas. They’re a lot of fun because you can muddle something and it definitely impresses everyone when they get to see it, so I definitely enjoy that. 

    Do you have a least favorite drink to make?

    I feel like my hardest drink is my favorite drink to make, so anything else from there is just easy-peasy. 

    Do you have any memorable customers?

    Definitely all of my customers are memorable for the most part, but the more you come in, the more we get to know you and see how you interact with everybody else in the bar. You become a favorite customer. I can’t say I have just one because we have so many different people that come in every day. 

    So you have a lot of regulars here?

    Definitely. I don’t like to call them regulars, I like to call them locals, because we’re a local bar. We definitely appeal to Tucson; that’s what we try to do. We try to make cocktails that locals would enjoy.

    What can customers do to make your job more enjoyable or easier?

    Be prepared. Anyone who comes to the bar and [doesn’t] know what they want, and I say “Hey, what can I get for you?” and you turn to your friends and ask them what they want… Just be prepared, know your order, have your money ready because we like to be fast and we want to get our drinks to our customers as fast as possible. 

    Do you get stressed out when it gets really busy here?

    I enjoy the stress, personally. Like I said, I grew up in kitchens, worked a lot, so I love a stressful night. When we have Halloween and it’s packed to the walls, and when I’m losing my mind — that’s when I’m most in focus. It’s when I’m talking like this when I get distracted a little bit, but when I’m in my zone, I’m in my zone.

    Do you have a certain strategy to make sure you’re serving everyone as fast as you can?

    Yeah, definitely. I don’t know how I would sum up my strategy, but it’s definitely focusing on knocking out as many drinks as I can in time, so when I take drinks I usually take four to seven drinks. I’ll try to get beers knocked out before I start muddling my mojitos, my watermelon margaritas, things like that. And a lot of bartenders work like that here. We try to knock out the easy drinks first, get you your drink and give it the time and attention it deserves. 

    What do you think makes customers want to come to Che’s instead of all the other bars on Fourth [Avenue]?

    It’s because we’re a local bar, we’re definitely that spot. I don’t consider us a dive bar, I don’t consider us a college bar — I don’t consider us any of those genres. We’re just a local bar. We’ve been here for 15 years and Tucsonans love us ‘cause we’re doing something right.

    Follow Emma Jackson on Twitter.

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