This summer, we launched one of our most exciting projects yet - Belle Isle draft cocktails. Yes, you read that right. Tasty, thirst-quenching cocktails available on tap at your favorite bars. For this next feature in our Behind the Bar series, we figured it was time to stop by The Public House in Norfolk, VA, the first bar ever to bring on a Belle Isle draft cocktail. We sat down at the bar across from MaryEllen, the General Manager at The Public House, to hear more about her story and what gives The Public House its mojo - and to try their cocktail on tap!
First thing’s first, who are you?
I'm MaryEllen Fournier and I am the General Manager/Employee Wrangler at The Public House in Norfolk, VA.
How long have you been bartending?
4 years at Pub and about 9 years total.
What first got you behind the bar?
I was drawn to the atmosphere. I love talking to all different types of people and the fast-paced environment behind the bar makes time fly. There is always something to do and you’re always moving. Perfect fit for me.
Any pro-tips for someone starting out behind the bar?
Always present yourself with a smile, greet your customers with eye contact, and provide great service even when you are crazy busy. It goes a long way.
Favorite drink to have?
I’m a beer and a shot kind of girl.
Favorite drink to make?
Hendricks and soda, with a splash of elderflower tonic.
Favorite thing to drink when no one’s looking?
A tiki drink with coconut and a silly drink umbrella garnish.
Pick one cocktail ingredient to use for the rest of your life.
I love muddled cucumber and basil in just about anything.
Favorite part about working at The Public House?
Pub offers two separate personalities: our more formal, restaurant-style approach up front, and a casual smoking lounge with pool tables and arcade games in the back. Our charm is in our versatility. We’re a full service cocktail bar, a well stocked beer bar, and the neighborhood “Cheers”.
Where do you stop in for a drink?
A: Anywhere quiet and low-key.
What’s your take on today’s cocktail culture?
Today’s cocktail culture has gotten a little oversaturated with complicated takes on classic cocktails. I think it’s time to go back to the basics.
Give us your golden rule when it comes to bar etiquette.
Leave your ego at the door.
What’s your favorite way to drink Belle Isle?
I'll pick up Belle Isle Cold Brew Coffee and mix it up. Perfect at the end of the night when you want that coffee taste and a great buzz.
- Pour Belle Isle, Kahlua, Amaretto, and cold brew in shaker tin and toss from tin to tin.
- Pour tossed ingredients over ice in a chilled pint glass.
- Shake Baileys and heavy cream in a chilled tin and float on top.
- Garnish with fresh mint.
- 2 oz. Belle Isle Cold Brew Coffee
- 1 oz. Kahlua
- ¼ oz. Amaretto
- ¼ oz. Baileys
- Splash of heavy cream
- Cold brew coffee of your choice
How to make it The Public House-style (on tap):
In a soda keg, combine and shake:
- 4 bottles Belle Isle Cold Brew Coffee
- 1 bottle Kahlua
- 1 bottle Amaretto
- 4 bottles cold brew coffee concentrate
Pull cocktail from tap over ice in a pint glass. Shake Baileys and heavy cream in a chilled tin, then float on top of the cocktail. Garnish with fresh mint.