ASK YOUR BARTENDER: Julie Grills of Willie McBride’s Irish Pub & Restaurant
I first discovered Willie McBride’s Irish Pub & Restaurant (616 Grand Street) after doing some grocery shopping at A&P. A nice-looking bar in a part of town that isn’t particularly heavy on hang-out spots, I was surprised to find such a big place in the middle of Grand Street. Then after doing some investigating, I found out that it had a music-themed back room, regularly hosting cover bands (e.g. The Nerds, The Amish Outlaws), DJs (e.g. DJ Bobby Blackjack) and country artists (e.g. Rachel Allyn Band) on Fridays and Saturdays.
Beyond the music, food—a full menu is listed at www.williemcbrides.com—and drinks that one ought to expect from a local watering hole, Willie McBride’s sets itself apart from other Hoboken establishments by having its own limousine. Yes, the bar owns a limo and you can ride in it. Information on how to make that happen can be found below.
Speaking of which, I had the opportunity to talk to Julie “Jules” Grills from Willie McBride’s, who BARZZ named the second fastest bartender in Hoboken. Julie offered some great “last words” within our Q&A, while also providing an interesting explanation about her learning curve as a bartender. And for those keeping track of “Ask Your Bartender” columns, Julie is not the first bartender that would prefer never to hear “Anaconda” again while on-shift.
hMAG: How did you get your start in the world of bartending?
Julie Grills: I was never a 9-to-5 girl so I decided the bar business was for me. I’ve always been a people person and a night owl, the rest is history.
H: What was the biggest part of the learning curve for you as a bartender?
J: I started my bartending career in an old man’s pub on Long Island, so I had to learn how to make Old Fashioneds, Rob Roys, Rusty Nails and Gibsons up to their standards. Once you are in with the old-timers, you pass!
H: What is your favorite part of bartending?
J: I would have to say all the different personalities you meet and the crazy conversations. Never judge a book by its cover.
H: Being regarded as one of the fastest bartenders in Hoboken, per a BARZZ competition, how does a bartender work fast yet efficiently?
J: You have to be able to multi-task and notice empty glasses before faces. Having a good memory helps as well!
H: Does Willie McBride’s still offer free limo rides?
J: Yes we do! Every Friday and Saturday night after 9pm, just call the limo number (201-681-7550) and it will come and pick you up for free!
H: For someone who hasn’t been to Willie McBrides before, how would you describe it?
J: It has a little bit of everything for everybody. A great beer selection, pub food, darts, pool table, big screen TVs with all the games, and the best cover bands in New Jersey.
H: How do your Hoboken and Branchburg locations compare?
J: The Branchburg location has a huge parking lot! Other than that both Willie McBride’s offer the same great Irish pub fare.
H: Do you have a favorite item on the menu there?
J: We recently updated our menu, so I would say the Old Bay Rub wings—and shepherd’s pie, of course.
H: When you’re on-shift, what song do you dread hearing most?
J: “Anaconda” by Nicki Minaj. We get it, you have a big butt and you cannot lie.
H: When not on-shift, what is your drink of choice?
J: Vodka, please.
H: Do you have a favorite bar in town aside from Willie McBrides?
J: Besides Willie’s, of course, I like going to Cork City and The Farside to play some darts.
H: When you’re not bartending, how do you like to spend your free time?
J: Sitting down is always a plus, and spending time with friends and family.
H: Finally, Julie, any last words for the kids?
J: Get off your phones and actually talk to the people you came out with! It really is a great concept.