Bartender Chronicles: Annie Hennessy, Kent Ale House

Photo by Sarah Jacobs
Photo by Sarah Jacobs

Have you ever wondered what life is like for those kind and patient people pouring shots behind the bar? This summer we’re bringing you a meet and greet with some of your favorite faces behind the bar at your favorite haunts. After the jump, Annie Hennessy from Kent Ale House shares her secret neighborhood haunts, her favorite craft beer, and the secret to bartending.

How long have you been bartending?
About six years.

What drew you to bartending?
I was waitressing, and I just needed to make some money. It really helps me do all of the other thinks I want to do in life and still be able to make enough money.

Where did you get your start?
In college.

What do you like about bartending?
Oh, I get to talk to everyone. I’ve made so many friends. … Especially here–I really like the customers. You know, I’ve made a lot of connections.

Do you have any advice for bar etiquette? What should you do — or not do — as a bar customer?
Don’t ask me to make your drink stronger. Don’t ask me to make your Long Island iced tea stronger. It’s a Long Island iced tea. I don’t know. I think here everybody’s laid-back and cool. You know, they understand when I’m busy. For me, I try to make eye contact if I can’t get to them right away, so they know — like, I will try to get there right away.

Speaking of that, what’s rule No. 1 in your “bartender handbook”?
Not to get overwhelmed. If you’re busy, it’s going to be okay. It’s fun that way. You know, it gets you overwhelmed, but then you realize it’s all going to be okay.

What do you do when you’re not bartending?
I’m actually getting my masters degree in childhood education, so I’m trying to become an elementary school teacher. That keeps me pretty busy. I also read a lot, and today I started my garden.

What’s your go-to after-work spot?
Usually I get off too late to go anywhere. But I do have one spot–I go to a barbecue restaurant called Northern Bell.

If you had to name an official cocktail of Brooklyn, what would it be?
A beer and a shot.

What beer? And what shot?
Here we’re a craft beer bar, so we don’t do a lot of PBR or whatever. Here it’d probably be like Flower Power or Brooklyn Lager and a shot of Jameson.

What’s your favorite beer to serve to people?
I really like sharing the Flower Power with people. It’s so good. It’s my favorite.

What about local beers?
Local beers–Brooklyn Blast, definitely. We’re right down the street from Brooklyn Brewery, so I always try to push their beers. And their Greenmarket Wheat, too.

Are there any “undiscovered” spots in the neighborhood that you’re willing to share?
Again, Northern Bell is pretty great for eating and drinks. So, St. Mazie is a bar that always has music that I really like, and then underneath–I’m going there tonight–is St. Charles Cellar, which is a great little restaurant. I’m, like, reluctant to share it. They’re great. I think it’s really cool.


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