They start them young in Ireland.
Aisling Cullen, a bartender at Con Murphy’s on the Parkway, started working in a friend’s bar back in Bailieborough, County Cavan, at age 15. At 18, she moved up to bartender and, one way or another, in Ireland or here in the States, Cullen has been pouring Guinnesses ever since.
“I got to learn the ropes from everywhere,” she says. Cullen has been in the U.S. for 12 years, working first at the New Deck Tavern in University City, and then moving on to Con Murphy’s.
We caught up with her recently and chatted with her about her life behind the bar.
Irish Philly: What appeals to you about tending bar?
Aisling: I think that you get a variety of people that you meet, and no day is ever the same. You get really interesting conversations. Sometimes a nine-to-five isn’t for everybody. You get to socialize for a living. It’s pretty good.
Irish Philly: What do you serve most often?
Irish Philly: What do you serve least often?
Aisling: It’s hard to say because we serve everything. You get a mix of everything. One night could be a lot of wines, one night could be a lot of beer and mixed drinks. So there’s never a day where something never sells.
Irish Philly: What do you most like to serve?
Aisling: I always like to pour a good Guinness.
Irish Philly: And what does that mean to you?
Aisling: A good Guinness, with a nice thick head that’s a little over the glass, over the rim of the glass.
Irish Philly: Anybody teach you how to pour a good Guinness?
Aisling: I learned it a long time ago when I first started bartending.
Irish Philly: Is pouring a good Guinness easy?
Aisling: Well, it takes time. You have to be a real perfectionist to get a good Guinness. That’s the hardest part. You do have to become a perfectionist. If it doesn’t look good, you don’t want to serve it.
Irish Philly: What do you least like serving?
Aisling: What do I least like serving? Margaritas.
Irish Philly: Why is that?
Aisling: Because I don’t like the taste of tequila.
Irish Philly: Can you see yourself tending bar for the foreseeable future?
Aisling: Yes, definitely.
Irish Philly: You’re never going to be an office job kind of person?
Aisling: Never. No. I definitely will tend bar as long as I can do it.
Con Murphy’s is on the ground floor of Windsor Suites, 1700 Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia.