In the restaurant and nightclub hierarchy, the bouncer at the door of an establishment needs to be tough in order to get rid of troublemakers.
Inside, the host/hostess and members of the wait staff need to be friendly to give clientele a reason to come back.
But, those who work behind the bar have to be equally firm and forthcoming, a balancing act Michelle Jones upholds as she mixes and pours drinks, all while providing an attentive ear for customers.
Jones received the Craig Daily Press’ 2011 Best of Moffat County award for best bartender for her work at J.W. Snack’s Bar & Grill, 210 E. Victory Way.
Jones, 28, has been tending bar for seven years, starting only a couple weeks after her 21st birthday. Her first job was helping out a friend who worked at Mathers Bar.
“It was kind of an accident, and then it turned into a career, I wasn’t really planning on it,” she said.
Nonetheless, it was a happy accident, as she continued working in the profession at Mathers for three years, moving to J.W.’s four years ago.
“I like everybody I work with here,” she said. “I like the atmosphere and the ambiance. It’s like a big family here.”
Jones said she also likes J.W.’s theme as a tropical bar and grill, with summer dress for the uniforms, flowers in the female staff members' hair, and specialty drinks like Killer Coffee and Loaded Landshark, among other beverages.
“When you come in here, you don’t really feel like you’re in Craig,” Jones said. “Not that Craig’s bad, but it has a different feel to it. We’ve got a lot of loyal customers who come here every night several times a week.”
Jones said she doesn’t rely on any showy presentation style when she is working, eschewing bartender moves from “Cocktail” and “Coyote Ugly.”
Instead, she prefers to be herself.
“I guess what I’ve got is a good personality, and I can be pretty witty,” she said.
Although Jones is modest, J.W.’s owner Danny Griffith was quick to sing his employee’s praises.
“She’s quick-witted, intelligent, beautiful and she can dish it out,” he said. “Being a bartender isn’t an easy thing to do, but she can have a whole group of people and take real good care of them, keep them entertained any time the conversation gets slow.”
Griffith said Jones’ “level-headedness” helped her be a strong worker and a favorite among the restaurant’s patrons.
Her reliable personality also helps hold the staff together, he said.
“She’s been tending bar longer than anyone,” he said. “She’s our rock.”
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