Originally published under the title: “Women behind bars.”

In local bars and restaurants across Collin County, female bartenders are shaking things up!

Kelly Poole, RA Sushi

Q: When did you first become a bartender?

Kelly: I first became a bartender in 2010 at Brick House Tavern & Tap in Plano. Before bartending here, I was dabbling in mixology at home, and learning from coworkers and other bartenders.  

Q: Why did you start bartending? 

K: One of my first restaurant managers thought my spirit and work ethic in the service industry would be a great addition to his bar team. Once I started, I fell in love with it! 

Q: What do you love most about the job?

K: Creating my own twists on classic cocktails, or completely new concoctions. And the interaction with people, whether that’s teaching aspiring bartenders the basics of the craft or helping patrons find exactly what they’re in the mood for.

Q: What’s your favorite drink to make at RA? 

K: My favorite drink is one we sadly took off our cocktail menu, the Tokyo Sour. It’s a sweetened version of an Old Fashioned, and I love to make it because I have never had a guest dislike it. 

Q: What do you order at RA?

K: My drink of choice at RA right now, is our Blushing Lychee Sangria.  It’s like an on-the-rocks version of a French 75, with strawberry gin and topped with a delicious Rose Brut.  

Q: Any advice you have for aspiring female bartenders?

K: Follow your spirit with your craft. Listen and learn from those who are offering you their knowledge, then tap into your own uniqueness and creativity to make your style your own.  

Kaylen Ledford, Union Bear

Kaylen Ledford | By Samantha Marie

Q: How did you start your career?

Kaylen: I first became a bartender at Harvest at the age of 19! I genuinely had an interest in it. I had already been in the service industry for a year and wanted to learn something different. It was something new I could try.

Q: What makes your job worthwhile?

K: My favorite aspect of the job is seeing people’s faces light up when they find a new craft beer that they enjoy.

Q: What Union Bear drink is the most fun for you to make?

K: My favorite drink that I make at Union Bear has to be the Baja Bear. It’s simple yet so yummy: Casamigos Añejo, Grand Marnier, lemon, lime, agave and orange! Margaritas are my go to!

Q: What’s the biggest obstacle in your job?

K: Because I don’t have a lot of social media, I would say my biggest obstacle would be staying up-to-date with new drink trends.

Q: Any advice for aspiring bartenders?

K: My advice would be to find a restaurant or bar that you really feel connected to. When you support the culture that your bar has, guests can see it. A happy bartender is the best bartender.

Read more: Sidecar Social brings something much-needed to Addison’s nightlife scene

Maggie Jaochim, Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar

Maggie Jaochim | Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar

Q: When did you first become a bartender? 

Maggie: I’ve been in the service industry for almost 10 years, bartending on and off for the past three!

Q: Why did you start bartending? 

M: Well first, it’s so much fun! You can’t help but smile while mixing up or serving cocktails to people having a good time. And the schedule is flexible and perfect for someone who is going to school, or as a second job. 

Q: What is your favorite aspect of this job?

M: I love the atmosphere of Pete’s; it doesn’t feel like work. Also, getting the chance to meet so many new and interesting people. 

Q: What is your favorite drink to make at Pete’s?

M: The White Gummi shot! Any drink that comes with a snack is at the top of my list. 

Q: What are you most likely to order at Pete’s? 

M: Oh! Our new Sugar Rimmed Lemon Drop! I’m a fan of all things sour and we use Fat Ice so it doesn’t get watered down as quickly. 

Q: What would you say is your biggest obstacle in this industry? 

M: It is fast paced, quickly growing and changing. It can be a challenge to keep up at times, but there is always something new and exciting! 

Q: Any advice you have for aspiring female bartenders? 

M: Be confident and have fun with it! 

Q: Pete’s revolves around singing. Do you consider yourself a singer? What’s your favorite song?

M: Absolutely not, but Pete’s brings it out of you! Right now, my favorite is “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo. Obviously.

Marissa Cuce, Pepper Smash- a Cocktail Kitchen

Marissa Cuce | By Samantha Marie

Q: How long have you been tending bar?

Marissa: I’ve been on the bar for a year now.

Q: Why did you start bartending?

M: I actually didn’t want to bartend initially, but I was kind of just thrown into it and have been at it ever since.

Q: What has made you come to love bartending?

M: My favorite part of the job is making people happy and giving them a reason to go out and enjoy cocktails. Nothing makes me happier than seeing faces light up when they enjoy themselves.

Q: What is your favorite drink to mix up?

M: I love making Bloody Marys, especially getting creative with the garnishes.

Q: What are you most likely to drink at Pepper Smash?

M: My favorite drink to enjoy at my bar is the Strawberry Fields. It’s so dangerously smooth between the basil, strawberry, champagne and gin, and makes me feel like a  glamorous queen.

Q: What would you say is your biggest obstacle?

M: I think the biggest obstacle for me is the way women aren’t taken seriously behind the bar. There’s an unspoken tension that teeters on a line of “Does she really know her stuff?” or “Is she just a cute face who can pour?” 

Q: What advice would you give other female bartenders about the job?

M: Knowledge is power. The more you have in your back pocket, the more opportunities you have. A lot of the time, I see bartenders lead with ego and falter, but the ones who really care about the craft don’t need to lead with ego and definitely go the farthest.