Soccer fans in Hoboken know there are a handful of great establishments to catch all of the key games, but only Mulligan’s has the cheek to call itself “NJ’s Premier Football Bar.”
Of course they show NFL games, but Mulligan’s (159 First St.) is renowned throughout the NY Metro Area for its soccer scene—Internationals, Premier League, MLS and beyond. And then there’s Rugby, Hurling and Gaelic Football… check out their website for the complete list of “Fixtures.”
Not just a hub for sports, however, Mulligan’s is known for offering Irish hospitality “Hoboken style.” It is one of the few places in town that serves Fish & Chips, Irish Breakfast—which can be ordered any time of day—and Cornish Pastie.
Bartender Will Ayers, who has been with Mulligan’s for more than six years, kindly answered some questions for hMAG. Among other things, Will ought to change your mind about the importance of “froyo” in one’s life. Ultimately, Will provided great answers within our Q&A, and it’s clear why he is many people’s favorite Hoboken bartender.
hMAG: For someone who hasn’t been to Mulligan’s before, how would you describe the establishment?
Will Ayers: Mulligan’s is a place for basically everyone. It’s probably most known for being a soccer bar. Although I will be scolded for not calling it “futbol,” we show almost every soccer league match live, and the bar is always filled with ex-pats from all over the world. We also have a huge “Sunday Funday” following for the NFL. At night, the vibe changes into a kind of disco DJ, dancy, party crowd. I will resist the urge to go into detail, so I’ll just say we have a good time.
H: How did you wind up bartending at Mulligan’s?
W: I used to work in advertising, but the office life wasn’t for me. I quit and did some traveling, and then after running out of money, I walked around Hoboken looking for a bartending job. At the time I was really good at making resumes, so I faked a good bartending resume and got a chance at Mulligan’s. “Fake it till you make it” was my motto—just don’t tell the owner about the resume part, ha!
H: If you weren’t bartending, what would you be doing for a living?
W: Well, I actually recently finished Physical Therapy school, so that’s an easy one: definitely choreography for Magic Mike 3.
H: Is there a bartender who showed you the ropes in your early days?
W: For a while I was the new guy working with an experienced crew. I learned everything I know from them. The good and the bad. But I think the best training was watching Cocktail with Tom cruise. I mean, what a legend!
H: What do you think the biggest misconception about bartending is?
W: Probably that I’m a cool person, when actually I am a huge nerd. Would you like to know the difference between warp-drive and hyper-drive?
H: No, thanks. So do you have a favorite part about bartending?
W: I love making a hot girl—who normally expects free drinks—pay. Sometimes girls won’t even come up to the bar with their wallet. It puts a giant smile on my face. I mean, try that at Wal-Mart, sweetie. I also love giving a drink on the house to someone who doesn’t expect it. I have many loyal customers and friendships that have started that way.
H: Have you ever been tending bar while a customer experienced a milestone event?
W: One time I saw a guy throw up on himself. In my mind he made history that day.
H: In your eyes, how does a Hoboken bar crowd compare to that of a Manhattan crowd? Is one easier or more enjoyable to tend bar for?
W: Totally depends on the bar you’re in, so it’s tough to say. I would say it’s a bit easier to meet people in Hoboken. There is more of a small town feel.
H: Is there a bar in town that you especially enjoy besides Mulligan’s? And a drink of choice that someone in town should buy for you if they see you at said establishment?
W: I think I would mostly likely be seen at Marty O’Brien’s, McSwiggin’s, Coopers, Dubliner, Carpe Diem, or Northern Soul. I can’t leave anyone out, or maybe I just spend too much time in bars. Let’s just say we’re all a close-knit family. And tequila shots, always!
H: For a patron to get great service from a bartender, what should they do?
W: When I first read this question I thought, “TEQUILA, of course I’d give Patrón great service. I love tequila!” But I guess I would say politeness and patience go a long way.
H: When you are on the other side of the bar as a patron, are you ever guilty of any of the things that an annoying customer may do?
W: When I’m on the other side, I’m horrified by the things customers do. If I’ve had too much tequila, I usually want to dance on the bar. No one wants that.
H: What is your least favorite song to hear while behind the bar?
W: That song [by The Black Eyed Peas] that goes “it’s gonna be a good good night.” I think to myself, “Hey song, leave me alone. I know it’s going to be a good night. Don’t tell me what to do.” So then I’ll try to have a terrible night just to spite the song.
H: Finally, Will, any last words for the kids?
W: I’ll leave you with a story about me trying to stay hip to the youth. One Saturday night, there were a few 22-year old girls all on their phones looking kind of miserable. They were complaining about something ridiculous and I said to them, “Hey girls, put the phones away. You girls should stop worrying so much and just enjoy yourselves. Carpe diem, you know… like you kids say these days, you just have to FROYO!”
They then looked at me then back at each other and said, “Did this old guy just try to say YOLO? “Then they all simultaneously flipped their hair back. I followed by saying, “Ummm, I mean, yeah! Sometimes you just want some frozen yogurt. Then I flipped my hair back.”
So, kids, just get out there and FROYO!
159 First Street