Exclusive Q&A with your favorite bartender


Many of you know her face, and probably her name, but that’s about it. If you’ve been there more than a couple times, she probably knows your name, major and favorite beer. Jennifer Marshburn, known by most a Jen, is the main bartender at Boathouse Grill. She spends most of her time listening to others but sat down with the Spinnaker to do something different: talk about herself.

She came from Raleigh, N.C., to visit her aunt in Ponte Vedra for the summer two and a half years ago and decided to stay in Jacksonville. She has been a bar tender for six years and serving at Boathouse since it opened.

Q: How is it different serving students versus a more diverse crowd?
A: They’re pretty diverse, too. I get older people, younger people, I get a lot of people who just turned 21. I get to meet a lot of interesting people here. I talk to a lot of people about their majors. Sometimes they’ll teach me stuff at the bar. Anthropology is a big one.

Q: Are students in a hurry or here to hang out?
A: They definitely come in and have a tight schedule because the have to go to class, you just have to be fast.

Q: Have you ever had to cut anyone off or throw anyone out?
A: We’re all trained very well with the tips management class, so even the people who fill in on my breaks are trained, anyone who would be behind the bar is trained. I don’t think people come here drunk, definitely not, because most of them are in between classes and they come in for lunch and to study and meet people.

Q: What’s your busiest time of they day?
A: Definitely during lunch. Probably 12:30 to 1:30 or 2. Tuesday and Thursday are busier than Monday and Wednesday.

Q: Whose idea was the mints on the counter?
A: Everyone kept asking me for gum, and we had mints. I didn’t expect them to be as popular as they have been.

Q: How do you remember so many faces, names and beer preferences?
A: I think about people on a friend basis sometimes, and it’s easier for me to remember. When I first started here, I didn’t really know anyone in Florida, and I definitely didn’t know anyone who came into the Boathouse. It was hard getting to know peoples’ names, but you just ID a bunch of times and starting tabs helps me remember names, and I’m just good.

Q: Do you take beer requests for new orders?
A: I give my manager all the input that students tell me since I’m on the front of the line. In general conversations, they’ll be like “O,h I like the Victory Beer that you have on draft, who came up with that?” or “You should get this beer.” And I always jot them down. We’ve definitely got more of a variety now, which is good, everyone’s been enjoying that. At first I thought everyone would want what’s least expensive, but now people are appreciating the better beers and don’t mind paying a little extra.

Q: What’s your favorite beer served at Boathouse?
A: I taste a lot of different beers, so I can know the difference, and I can better sell them, but me personally, I just like Coors Light or Bud Light.

Q: What do you do on the weekends and on your free time? What are your hobbies?
A: Go to St. Augustine, the normal beach stuff, I go to a lot of flea markets and festivals. My hobbies are going to concerts and photography. I love museums, so I go to museums a lot. Reptiles and amphibians — herpetology.

Q: How do you stay so happy?
A: It’s actually fun. I mean, it could be in an office or doing a lot of other things and I dunno, I just get to talk to a lot of different people thought the day. It’s a lot of people coming in and leaving, coming in and leaving because of classes. I’ve met probably everyone I know in Florida because of the Boathouse.