There are 24 bars located in downtown State College, each equipped with a team manning the madness behind the bar, but have you ever really taken the time to get to know the bartenders? That’s where we come in with our newest short series, Better Know a Bartender, where we sit down and get to know the brave men and women who serve the insatiable thirst of Penn State students.
Meet Gabriella Montalvo, a senior majoring in Public Relations. When she is not in State College, she is off exploring the world. Last summer, she lived in Barcelona and interned at a PR firm called Edelman. Earlier this year, she helped out at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City.
She began working at Pickles to get a taste of the food/bar industry and thinks it’s a good idea for others to do the same.
“It really teaches you not only how to treat a customer, but how a customer should treat their server or bartender,” said Montalvo. “You know, it’s crazy how hard it is to be accepted into PSU, but some students don’t even know how to calculate 20%.”
Age and Major: 21, Public Relations
Hometown: Bucks County, PA
Experience: It’s been a little over two years since Gabriella started working at the tap room. She had a few older girlfriends who helped her get the job before they graduated. Unlike the Phyrst, Pickles has a veteran staff comprised mostly of bartenders out of the college-aged range.
“I started out as a server but last semester me and a few of other lovely ladies have the opportunity to get behind the bar!” said Montalvo.
Signature Drink: Did you know that Pickles was voted “Best Signature Drinks in State College”? Neither did I, and while I couldn’t find who exactly participated in this voting process, I think I’ll take Gabriella’s word for it. Especially because her signature drink is something my novice 21-year-old self has never heard of — which must mean it’s expensive.
“My personal favorite signature mixed drink is the Purple School Bus,” said Gabriella. “It basically tastes like a White Russian with a hint of raspberry.”
Favorite Part about Pickles: The chicken fingers, of course, which are amazing if I do say so myself. Oh, and she mentioned the people she works with/for too.
Hidden Talents: Gabriella has been playing the piano since she was a little girl. She has a tattoo of piano keys on her wrist, making it visible as she is serving a drink. A lot of the time, guys try to be suave by attempting to “play the piano” on her wrist.
Craziest Story: If you ever have Miss Montalvo as your server, make sure you remember to tip! She may look all cute on the outside, but she’s definitely not someone you want to mess with.
“One time an old mean lady walked out on a $200 tab,” said Gabriella. “I chased her down College Ave. to the CATA bus station until she paid her bill… and tipped me of course.”
Typical Night: As many of us know, Country Night on Tuesdays can get crowded as soon as Happy Hour starts — which is followed by country ballads being screamed in states of inebriation. Gabriella, however, prefers the more low-key nights where it’s just the workers and the bar.
“Sometimes my favorite nights at Pickles are when its completely dead and all of the employees just hang out and make fun of each other,” said Montalvo. “We get a little ridiculous sometimes. We have an amazing management team that appreciates all of the employees.”
What’s Next: While she is sad these are her last few months at Pickles with the bloodiest of Mary’s and crispiest of chicken fingers, she is motivated to have a successful career in PR. After graduation, she hopes to start a career in the entertainment industry, ideally on the west coast.
Think you know a deserving candidate that should be interviewed? Email me.