FORT Interview with Lola, Bartender extraordinaire
I have had the pleasure of submitting questions to Lola, the bartender/manager of “The Restaurant” and I hope you all enjoy her responses as much as I did.
You are a very colorful and interesting character, why didn’t we get to see much of you before the 4th Episode?
I think the producers weren’t quite sure of what to do with me. They definitely liked me and saw my potential as the witty, one-lining bartender with the heart of gold. But I made the job my main concern not the cameras. There was talk of making me the philosopher/sage bartender-doling out theories and advice at the bar, but that didn’t pan out because A) the bar scene was lacking and B) I was just too busy. I was also exhausted and stressed. It didn’t bring out the Lola flava. Everyone is at their best when they’re comfortable in their surroundings and in their own skin. And Brooklyn cradles me in its arms.
Was the staff really as envious of your red Vespa “bonus” from Rocco, or was it a lot more than that?
It certainly didn’t help the already tense environment. And I certainly didn’t mean for it to cause the ruckus it did. I was just so blown away. Also-The producers would ask us questions from behind the cameras about things. When I was promised the Vespa, I think they cameras were more than ready for the reaction shots.
After you quit, Rocco lured you back with a promise of a managerial staff position, how did that work out?
I’ll have to answer that after the show ends.
Why did you apply to the restaurant in the first place? Did you know it would be made into a television show?
The smoking ban has killed off some bar business in NYC. (Bloomberg, you suck!) I was thinking I should pick up some more shifts at another bar to make the extra cash. I decided to do the Rocco gig because it sounded promising and exciting. I knew it would be filmed…but I was more interested in working for a famous chef at a good restaurant, padding my resume and learning more about wines. I knew that If I did a good job and they highlighted my bartending skills I would be able to get a bartending job anywhere in the country after that.
Was anyone depicted unfairly due to the editing and if so, who?
Laurent. He’s a great manager and a really funny guy. I think a lot of the staff wasn’t used to someone so stoic. The need for attention and positive reinforcement was rampant. He‘s cool to people he respects as professionals. As for Rocco. If anyone were under that sort of microscope…there would always be idiosyncrasies that are played up unfairly.
Did the cameras make you feel self-conscious or did you still behave the way you would normally?
I was definitely self-conscious. I was working and sweating my ass off -and there are cameras 10 inches from your face. It was weird but I tried to behave normally. I was focused on working. Going in- I knew I wasn’t going to put on airs, extra make-up or hootchie mama outfits. If I acted like myself and focused on the job at hand- I knew I would be happy with the results.
Lola, you seem very congenial. Did you get on well with the staff? Are you still friends with some of the staff that you met there? If so, who?
I’ve got a very easy disposition and am well suited for camaraderie. I liked the people I worked with. Some of them weren’t as professional or experienced as I had would have imagined…but they are a good-hearted bunch of people. Dedicated with their own off kilter personalities. From the start I decided that if I didn’t like anyone or their actions- I’d just let them dig their own graves. I stayed out of any drama. I kick it into high gear AFTER work over drinks and shenanigans… I’m probably closest to Uzay, Jana, Topher and Laurent. Brian, Gideon and Pete are funny dudes, too. But I enjoy seeing all the kids and invite them to my house parties (which are often and fun) or out for drinks.
Did the restaurant become very popular because it was featured on a television show, or because of Rocco’s reputation?
I think the fact that it’s a television show definitely turned the spotlight up a notch… and it didn’t hurt that Rocco is a hottie and a famous cook.
Did anything interesting or dramatic happen on the show that wasn't shown on camera?
Man, I feel like it was so long ago? Well, the staff went out EVERY night after work and got rip roaring drunk. It was the easiest way to let off steam and bond. And well…that’s what the nocturnal counterculture (to quote Topher) does. So we had quite a few wild nights out on the town. Besides that…there are two episodes left and I’m not sure what else they have in store for us. I’m as curious as you are.
Were there been any romances going on among the cast that haven’t been disclosed on the show, or was it all too hectic?
Here and there. But I don’t kiss and tell on anyone, yo! We Brooklyn girls keep out traps shut (unless, of course, you’re celebrating your good fortune. Wink.wink.)
What are your hobbies, dreams and ambitions?
I love riding my low-rider bike with my bike gang the Bitch Valley Dogs. At least once a week, a whole bunch of us get together and hang out in the park and drink Margaritas in big ass Styrofoam cups…then we ride through the Brooklyn streets and try not to get clipped by cars. I have a boom box in my basket. (Provides the soundtrack to our evenings) It’s a nice way to cruise through a night-- bar hop, flirt, get good and drunk and scrappy, bike ride and goof off. Other than that. I’m easy to please. I have a strong circle of friends and family. So whether it’s the weekly poker night, making dinner with friends, writing haikus, singing karaoke, or visiting my brother and my Pops for a day on Brothers’ boat in Long island…Life is good. The future? Who knows, sugar? I like bartending. Its good money, always a friend that pops in and I can sleep late. I wouldn’t mind being an easy listening DJ or comedy writer. Everyone has a talent; Crunching numbers, debating law, etc. Me… I’m just good at life.
I have heard that Brooklyn is now the “in” place to see and be seen, is it becoming the “new” Manhattan?
I’ve been living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for the past 8 years. It’s a utopian post- collegiate playground. Lots of artists and musicians. It good for us hepcats that are avoiding responsibility and adulthood. As for it being the “new” Manhattan. Nah. We don’t have a Starbucks in my neighborhood. Yet. (cringe)
Where are you originally from and why did you come to New York?
I’m originally from Long Island, NY. Lived in Jersey for a spell. Went to girl’s catholic boarding school in Indiana and then college in Pennsylvania. Coming back to NY was the logical choice. I need instant gratification and to live in a cultural Mecca.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I’ll stay here in NY for a while. I travel quite a bit so that soothes the wanderlust. The grass isn’t always greener. I lived in LA 5 years ago for a year. And it’s not smog hanging over that city-it's vaporized disappointment. Although, I do appreciate the lack of aluminum siding. The Spanish hacienda stucco was quite lovely. Wherever the wind takes me I suppose. When I’m all grown up…I’ll just be happy to own my own home somewhere in NY state with a big ass yard, a tire swing, a wrap around porch with pies coolin’ in the windowsill and a bunch of miniature burros grazing in the distance. Look me up in 10 years…we’ll have a Bizarre-B-Q!
Thank you so much, Lola. You are a terrific person to interview and I appreciate your wit and insights. See you at your Bizarre-B-Q and make it sooner than ten!