Jen Bender said her win for “Best Bartender” was a huge surprise.
That’s because the 28-year-old hasn’t been bartending much recently, as she’s been out on maternity leave.
Though she’s tended bar at Tailgators for over two years, Bender said with a smile that she’s been staying off her feet as much as she can while she’s expecting.
When asked what makes her this year’s best bartender in the River Wards, Bender simply laughed and thanked her friends.
She said that over the years, nearly all the bar’s customers have become her close friends.
“I mess with everybody and tell them how it is,” she said. “But I met a lot of my really close friends here, and almost everybody who comes in here is invited to my baby shower.”
Bender added that she’s lucky that the bar’s owners, Brian and Maria Winans, treat the employees well and make Tailgators a fun place to work.
“It doesn’t hurt that the owners are so nice,” she said. “It’s just fun. The people make it fun.”
Bender said that she is thankful to everyone who voted for her, and when asked if she had some special tricks that make her successful behind the bar, she said no.
Instead, she said she believes her good attitude and friendliness helped her secure the win.
“I mean, it’s a great place to work. What else can I say but ‘thank you’ to everybody?” said Bender.
Visit Bender at Tailgators Sports Bar at 2436 Gaul St.
- Hayden Mitman
Runner Up: Stacy Gorman at Donna’s Bar at 2732 E. Allegheny Ave.