Bartender of the Month: Brooks Blackler

Brooks Blackler talks about how Ram’s Head is able to cater to everyone, from foodies, to beer geeks, to people seeking a party.

Photo by: Dan Balmer
Interview by: Dan Mathers

So, how long have you been at Ram’s Head? Two years since December.

What shifts do you work? I work Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from about 6pm to 2am.

And what brought you here? I worked at Kildare’s before this, for about five years, and I was looking for a change. I didn’t want to be, “in the biz” anymore. I tried to get out, but then it just pulled me back in. I was applying for a bartending position three months after “leaving the biz.” And I couldn’t stay away.

What do you do in interim? I was going through a life transition. I was in a serious relationship that didn’t work out, and I figured I’d try another road. I was looking for an office job or something like that—a change of pace. I talked to some recruiters, and made it about 80% of the way through the process and realized I just didn’t want to do it. It wasn’t the job I needed to change—I love bartending.

What is is it you like about the job? The fast-paced environment, the hours, and the people. I like it when it’s really busy. I just kind of like the aggressiveness of the job, how it keeps you on your toes. I turn it into a game—how fast can I work. I want to provide really good service, but it’s always a challenge to bust out quality, accurate drinks as quickly as possible.

What’s the best part of working at Ram’s Head?  It’s a tight-knit staff. I don’t wanna sound cliche, but it’s family. Everybody hangs out together, drinks together. We’re a smaller staff, and everyone is friends—a good chunk of us always go out together during the week.

What about from the customer’s perspective? We definitely have the best nachos in town! That’s one thing people come in for—the food. It’s pub food, but it’s excellent and made in house. And we’ve got an awesome draft selection, and whiskey like Pappy Van Winkle. The drinks and the atmosphere bring in a slightly older crowd than the college kids, but the best thing is, we’re able to have this great restaurant environment, but also a totally separate party environment.

How’s thatWe’ve got an upstairs and a downstairs, which gives us a cool dynamic. Upstairs gets busy and can be packed, but it’s got a restaurant feel, with a relaxed crowd. Downstairs is more like the party scene. You can sort of pick your vibe.

What’s the party vibe likeWell, as summer ends, we have our mug night starting this month. Last year it was a killer. Every Thursday you get $2.50 mixed drinks and $1.50 PBRs with a 12oz plastic mug.

You excited for the end of summerThings can be a bit slow over the summer. I’m ready for all the people to return to town, to meet new faces. Everything picks up again in West Chester come September. I’m ready for this town to come alive.

Read the rest of the article in our September “Nightlife” issue!