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UNF Spinnaker

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.

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  • G

    George GiouroukosJan 4, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Jen is just an all around great individual, and at the same time works very hard to satisfy her customers. In the restaurant industry its all about your customer service in order to get repeat business, and Jen definitely scores an A+!

  • C

    Cindy QuinnDec 1, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    Jen, here in Rlaeigh, we are glad you are doing good and enjoying life. After all, that’s what it’s all about. Bartending was the absolute greatest job I ever had and if you do what you love and enjoy then it seems you never work a day in your life. We love you Jen and you are making us proud. All of those people in Florida better be good to ya! LOL

  • J

    Johnny the JewDec 1, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Jen is the best! She has always taken good care of her customers but mainly me!! Make sure you tip your bartender! O and don’t blame your drinking problem on anyone but your self! Jen Rocks!!