You would be hard pressed to find people in Dayton that have not heard of Mack’s Tavern. Established in 2015, it made a splash quickly, earning national attention for rewarding their patrons for making good decisions. Had you not heard of them by that point, their yearly Irish Car Bomb Waterfall record has been the talk of the town every St. Patrick’s Day. Even before it was a physical bar, Mack’s Tavern was having an impact on the cocktail scene. If there has been a Bloody Mary Challenge in the city, they have won at least a share of first place. Mack’s Tavern has made such a large impact in the city because of its owner, Mackenzie Manley. It is her vision that has turned Mack’s into one of the best dive bars in the city.
Mackenzie was generous enough to answer some questions for our inaugural “Dayton Bar Stars” interview! Who better to kick off this series than one of the most beloved bartenders at one of the most loved bars in the city?
How did you get into bartending?
I got into bartending by working at a tanning salon. A customer asked if I wanted to bartend. I said I’m not a bartender just have waitressed. He said we will teach you, and off I went in 2006 to Pour Haus to work for Matt Hayden!
What is your favorite drink to make?
My favorite drink to make is my Green Iguana. I love seeing people’s faces after I tell them what’s in it and they taste how good it is.
Which drink makes you internally cringe?
I don’t like to make anything with a sugared rim. It’s so sticky and messy to clean the glasses.
Do you have a favorite spirit you like to work with?
My favorite alcohol to work with is strawberry vodka. The possibilities are endless!
When you go out for a drink in Dayton, where is your favorite place to go?
My favorite place to go out to is Theo’s Lounge.
Who is the most famous person you have served?
Most famous person I’ve served is the Denver Broncos player David Brunner
What do you do when you are not bartending?
When I’m not bartending at Mack’s, I’m here at Mack’s working on other parts of the business!
What advice do you want to give bartenders just getting into the business?
My advice to new bartenders: SMILE! Let customers know you see them and will be right with them.
What do you love most about Dayton?
I love the people!
Most interesting thing you have seen from behind the bar?
The most interesting thing I’ve seen from behind the bar belongs on Skina-Max!
How has bartending changed in the time you have been in the industry?
Bartending has given me more confidence and made me more outgoing.
What is your least proud moment as a bartender?
Least proud moment having to kick people out of the bar for misbehaving or stealing and having to make a scene to get them out.
What do you wish customers knew that helped you do your job?
I wish customers knew to have money or a credit card ready when they order a drink. And knew what they wanted to drink!
If you were not a bartender, what career would you be pursuing?
If I was not a bartender I would like to think I would work with animals.
As a two-time winner of the Bloody Mary Challenge, what’s the secret to a good Bloody Mary?
The secret to the best Bloody Mary is LOVE!
This is the first in a series of articles featuring Dayton’s Best Bartenders. Feel free to nominate your favorite mixologist for a future post. You can reach us at [email protected]