Editor’s note: Kicks presents 20Q, a feature that introduces readers to people involved in the area’s arts and entertainment community. Compiled by kicks Editor Greg Little, each piece will include a short bio, photo and answers to questions that provide insight into not only that person’s artistic interests but also his or her unique personality.
The next time you walk into The Anchor in Newville, check behind the bar. It’s a good bet Ciearra Austin will be the one serving your libations.
A 24-year-old from Janesville, Austin has been slinging drinks at the popular tavern for the past four years. When she’s not keeping customers cool and hydrated, she’s spending time with her “insanely smart and beautiful” 2-year-old daughter, Kennalei, and, starting next month, is starting work toward an associate degree in criminal justice at Blackhawk Technical College.
Austin also enjoys reading, writing, playing with Kennalei and “most things outdoors.” She considers herself outgoing, admits her hands get sweaty when she talks to attractive men (she’s single) and tends to laugh hysterically at her own jokes.
To see Austin in action, swing by The Anchor, 718 E. Highway 59. A great opportunity is coming up April 26-27 when the venue once again celebrates its popular Break in the Weather party. Visit AnchorFun.com for more details.
1. What is the best tip you’ve ever received? It was advice from an elderly couple. They told me to forgive and never give up on love. It was as if they had known me my entire life.
2. Being a bartender, do people ask you for advice? Of course. It’s usually a lot of relationship advice. Men are usually asking me how they can keep their girlfriends a secret from their wives.
3. I’m only allowed out one night a week. Which night is the best to be at The Anchor? The best night is a Saturday. Saturdays are filled with great bartenders, an amazing band and Anchor’s phenomenal steak menu.
4. What drink is your favorite to make? The Bay Breeze. It’s a mix of rums and fruit juices, and it’s a pretty color as well as being refreshing on a hot summer day.
5. Is there a particular drink that is popular, but you can’t understand why? The Long Island Iced Tea. I think it tastes gross, and you can only have a few—then you’re done for the night. To me, that is not enjoyable.
6. Ever been asked to make a drink that you’ve never heard of? I’ve been asked to make drinks I’m unfamiliar with a lot. I usually ask another bartender or look the drink name up on Google.
7. If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money? I would pay off my car, buy a home my daughter could grow up in and take my daughter on a vacation. If there was any money left over, I would put it in my daughter’s college fund.
8. Name your favorite Muppet. Definitely Kermit the Frog because he is brave, loyal and isn’t afraid to take charge when friends are in need. He may not be the best at everything, but he always sees the goodness of the world.
9. “Guy walks into a bar ...” is a standard start to several jokes. What’s the funniest thing you have ever seen while working at The Anchor? When this man was trying to impress a group of ladies with his dance moves. He got so into it, he slipped and rolled down the shoreline.
10. Do you have any particular phobias or superstitions? I have a horrible fear of spiders. As a child, I had dreams of being locked in a room full of them. As for superstitions, I have to tap and blow on a drink until it feels right before I drink it or it is bad luck.
11. What is your philosophy on bartending? It’s simple: Have originality and be genuine because bartending is more than just mixing delicious cocktails.
12. Share something people would be surprised to find out about you: That I have seven different alter-egos. I have only named four so far, but they are all interesting and exciting.
13. Is there a song on the jukebox that you could go the rest of your life without ever hearing again? I could go the rest of my life without hearing “Barbie Girl.” To me, the song is annoying, demeaning to women and paints an insulting picture.
14. Social media. Is it a good thing or bad thing? It can be both good and bad. It is a great way to promote new items and events, but it could also be used to twist situations in a negative way.
15. What is the best/worst thing about being a bartender? The best thing is all the relationships you build with amazing people. The bad thing is cutting people off who have had too much—especially when it is one of your regular customers.
16. At the grocery store, what item always goes in your cart whether you need it or not? You will always find a box of macaroni and cheese in my cart. It is equally cheesy and delicious, and I could eat it every day for every meal.
17. For me, being behind the bar is: Like being on stage for an award. You want to make the best impression on everyone while being yourself. It is stressful yet rewarding.
18. Is your glass half-full or half-empty? My glass is half-full because I believe nobody controls you. When things get tough, you have to have faith that good will always prevail over evil.
19. Share some of the duties of being a bartender that don’t involve making drinks. As a bartender, making drinks is part of the role, but it is so much more, as well. I am responsible for interacting with patrons, assessing patrons’ requests as well as making recommendations and creating a fun and positive atmosphere.
20. What is the most effective way to get a bartender’s attention when the bar is packed? The most effective way to get a bartender’s attention during busy times is simple. Have patience, push your money out so I know you have not been helped yet and flash me a big smile. I am a sucker for beautiful smiles.