ASK YOUR BARTENDER: Wicked Wolf Tavern’s Beverly Gross
Located steps from the waterfront, the Wicked Wolf Tavern (120 Sinatra Drive) is hard to avoid during the summer months of the year. Yet for those colder months, many find it hard to resist the Wicked Wolf as their “Wolf Sundays” make them a primary destination for NFL fans. For the non-summer and non-Sunday times of year, there are still plenty of attractions to the bar, including the Nine Deeez (Editor’s Note: That is read: “nineties”) Nite, the Wolf Music Festival, the $2 slider menu, the Alcohol Wheel Of Fortune, and its 30-plus televisions.
Bartender Beverly Gross took the time to answer some questions for hMAG. Her honesty about how she got into bartending was great, but in reading her responses, you quickly pick up on her pride towards being an effective yet personable bartender.
hMAG: How did you get your start as a bartender?
Wicked Wolf Tavern’s Beverly Gross: Initially, I started in college as a way to help pay for school and fat sandwiches.
H: And how did you find your way into bartending at the Wicked Wolf Tavern?
B: I had actually known the manager Joe and the barback Oscar from coming into bars I had worked in previously in town. I knew Wicked Wolf was a popular spot for football, live bands, and great open bar deals. As time passed, I thought maybe I could offer the bar some extra sarcasm and sass during my shifts and Joe had graciously agreed to try me out.
H: Having tended bar at the Wicked Wolf for over a year, what do you wish more people knew about the bar?
B: I know that Wolf has a reputation for being a crazy party spot, but it is also great to just come in and relax with friends and family, enjoy some delicious food and drinks, and watch your favorite sports games. We’re a full sports bar, so we hold up to that; it’s not just football, we make sure to show all big games, whichever sport that may be. We also have an incredible view of the New York City skyline, especially from our outdoor patio.
H: You regularly bartend during “Wolf Sundays.” What makes The Wicked Wolf such a destination to watch NFL games at?
B: WELL! If you have never been to Wicked Wolf on a Sunday, I will say that it is not just a place to watch football games; it is much better defined as an “experience.” Ask anyone who comes in and they will agree. To be honest I have NO idea how our patrons have that much energy on a Sunday morning, but it must be a combination of the sport that people love to watch, the crazy music/dance parties that randomly break out during commercials, and last but certainly not least, the napkins—people pretend they’re confetti! There is just something about the air in Wicked Wolf on a football Sunday.
H: What is your favorite item on the menu there?
B: If I am being honest—which is pretty hard for me not to be—I have been a chicken finger gal my whole life. There is nothing worse than going into a bar, ordering chicken fingers and getting some weird, greasy chicken with soggy breadcrumbs on it. Our chicken fingers are legit and I am pretty much a self-proclaimed chicken finger connoisseur. Made to order, you won’t be disappointed!
H: What is your favorite part of bartending?
B: The money. Come on, you gave me that one! Also, it’s really nice to go in to your job and meet new people every shift and also have relationships with some pretty great regulars. If someone is a jerk to you one night, maybe you never have to see that person again; I can’t say that for every job. Lucky for me, Wicked Wolf is a great place to work and it is easy to feel comfortable working when you have some solid bartenders next to you, great barbacks behind the bar, and a supportive management staff.
H: Which is the most difficult drink for you to make when it is a busy night?
B: Not one drink in particular, but if you want me to muddle something or make a shot of something that has like four to five components, those are two drinks that probably won’t have me on top of the world. Otherwise, our drink options are pretty conducive to us all being quick bartenders to make sure your hand is never empty for too long and your belly is always full of something delicious, whether that is a beer, a mixed drink, or a simple glass of wine.
H: Do you think there is a common misconception about bartending?
B: I think there are MANY misconceptions about bartending. A big one would have to be that it is easy to bartend. It is not. I know everyone thinks we just pour stuff into glasses and voila! Yet, there is so much more than pouring and smiling that makes up being an effective bartender.
H: If you weren’t bartending for your livelihood, what would you be doing for a living by choice?
B: WELL! Bartending has actually funded—and continues to fund—my graduate degree. I have just graduated this past May with a Masters in School Counseling and am currently in the midst of a very frustrating job search!
H: What can a customer at The Wicked Wolf do to make sure they get the best possible service?
B: A tip goes a long way, but it is also important to just remember we are humans as well, just like the guests. We do not just exist to be your weekend servants, you know? When a patron is respectful, polite, knows their full order, and has their payment in hand—especially when it is busy—that is really all it takes. We know you are out to have a good time, which is why we work so hard to make sure you do!
H: Is there a song that you’ve heard one too many times while on-shift and wish would never be played at?
B: Hmmm; not really. Songs come and go, and at Wicked Wolf, our DJs are on top their game! They’ll do throwback, to pop, to house, to some hip-hop. They’ll even get on the mic and get dance-offs going on stage! So every shift I work, it is sort of like a new music experience; ESPECIALLY when Joe gets in the booth, watch out!
H: When not on-shift at The Wicked Wolf, where is your favorite spot in Hoboken to hang out?
B: Nowhere! Wicked Wolf is life! Just kidding, I’m actually not much of a hang-out gal. I do like the occasional dinner night out. Every shift at Wolf is its own party, but when I’m not on shift, I like to relax at home.
H: Finally, Beverly, any last words for the kids?
B: Eat your vegetables, just say no, stay in school, don’t stop ‘til you get enough, don’t stop believin’, and come into Wicked Wolf to experience the atmosphere for yourself. You won’t be disappointed, but if you are, let’s talk about it. And just remember, #WOLFKNOWS.