Straight Up with Nikki Frambach of O'Laughlin's Pub
No ‘foofy stuff’ here, Frambach says, just craft beers, Guinness, mixed drinks and no talk of politics
PITTSFIELD — The curtains form an Irish flag. The door is green. Heck, even some of the taps are green. For O'Laughlin's Pub, St. Patrick's Day doesn't need to be a dressed-up, specials-laden occasion.
"We're a real Irish bar," said bartender Nikki Frambach, who has some Irish in her blood. "There's not a lot of foofy stuff that we do."
Frambach would know. The Hinsdale resident has worked at the Merrill Street establishment for 12 years. She grew up in nearby Dalton and attended Pittsfield High School, beginning her bartending career about 18 years ago at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
"I got asked to try it and figured the money was better than hostessing, so why not try something different," she said before starting her typical Friday double-shift.
In addition to her Friday and Saturday work at O'Laughlin's Pub, Frambach bartends at Pittsfield's Hot Dog Ranch Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
"The one thing I love about what I do is that it's family in both places," she said. "We put the 'fun' in dysfunctional, but at both places, I'm very lucky with who I get to work with and who I get to work for."
Q. What's the most common drink order you get here?
A. Definitely the craft beers. The IPAs are a big one here, for sure. That's definitely the new trend. We rotate. We go through quite a bit.
Q. What's your favorite drink to make?
A. Jamaican cowboy margarita (tequila, triple sec, Malibu, Peachtree, orange juice and pineapple juice)
Q. What's your least favorite drink to make?
A. Long Island iced teas, probably.
Q. What's in your fridge at home?
A. I have Bud Light Lime, usually.
Q. What do people come in here and talk to you about the most?
A. Definitely sports.
Q. What do you wish people talked to you about or asked you about more?
A. I don't really know. I'm glad we don't really have to talk politics in the bar. That's my favorite part.
Q. What's the most common mistake people make when they order a drink?
A. Not knowing what's in it. That's always our joke: "If you don't know what's in it, you shouldn't order it."
Q. What's your best bar story?
A. When I worked at the Crowne Plaza, I'll never forget it as long as I live. ... He had no arms. He came and sat down, and he ordered a glass of pinot grigio. I remember working with my best friend at the time, and we were like, 'OK, how is this going to go?' And literally, [he picked it up with his] feet, with his toes, like it was nothing. It was insane. The next day, he came back. I was like, 'Sir, would you like another glass of pinot grigio?' And he was floored: 'Oh my gosh, you remember what I drank?' And I was like, 'For the rest of my life, I'm going to remember that you drank pinot grigio.' I will never forget that ever. Then he asked where the smoking area was, and I was like, 'Stop it!' He had the glass of wine in one foot and the cigarette in another going back and forth.
Q. When you're off the clock, what do you like to do?
A. I'm definitely a big sports fan. I love to travel, whether it's an island or going to a sporting event.
Q. What are some of your favorite bars and restaurants that you haven't worked at in this area?
A. My friend just opened a bar in Dalton that's definitely my go-to when I get out of work: Red's Speakeasy. He did such a great job with it. There's shuffleboard and pool tables. He bought the old Zip's, so I go there a lot because it's on my way home. It's convenient, and it's good beer.
Q. What should people know about bartending that, if they've never been a bartender, they might not know?
A. It's a lot. I don't think people understand how much liability is on us as bartenders. People get so mad when you get cut off and whatnot. We're looking out for you, but we're looking out for ourselves, too. Part of doing the TIPS certification and everything, you learn how much responsibility is really on you. And it is very stressful. Be nice to us when we cut you off!
Q. Have you ever wanted to own your own bar?
A. No! I love working in one, and I enjoy it all day. I love getting up and coming to work. I'm never like, 'Uh, I have to go to work today.' But no, I don't really want to own my own bar. I'd rather work for somebody else.
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