Behind the bar stands super woman


Amanda Drager pours a martini at the start of her Center House shift.  She also bartends at Adam’s Rib in Green Lake. Ariana Hones photo

by Ariana Hones

Not all superheroes wear capes.

In fact, sometimes the factor giving them that extra boost of power comes from a comfortable pair of non-slip shoes.

At least that is the case for Amanda Drager, a local bartender called “super” by more than just a few.

“I was very happy when Amanda came to me,” said Carla VanRossum, owner at the Center House where Drager works. “She has such a great following and is a hard worker and very reliable. She really is super woman.”

The Center House, however, isn’t the only place Drager frequents. Not even close.

“At one point, I was working at five different places. I had to buy a planner just to keep track of where and when I was going to work,” she said with a smile.

Currently, Drager tends bar, serves and “does a little cooking” at the Center House and Adam’s Rib, both of Green Lake.

“I say, ‘Have license, will travel,’” Drager said, speaking to the six different area bartending licenses she has.

A typical week for Drager includes at least six days of work with many of them being back-to-back shifts as she travels from the Center House on the outskirts of Green Lake to downtown for an evening shift at Adam’s Rib.

Her secret beyond the non-slip shoes?

Taking a vitamin supplement.

“I have cut back a little actually,” Drager said of her workload, while laughing. “I try to take Sundays off, but that doesn’t always work. I did just take off three days though.”

The reason why?

Her birthday vacation to Wisconsin Dells.

With multiple 16-hour days each week, it felt well deserved.

Drager has been bartending for years.

A decade ago, she quit her job as an insurance broker to come back to an industry she first joined when she was 19 years old bartending at Royal Ridges in Ripon: hospitality.

“I love interacting with people — I just have a ton of fun being with the staff and the customers,” Drager said when asked what draws her to her work. “I like things done a certain way and I get to work with a great group of people … Working together as a team is really the key.”

It also helps when you have a dedicated following of “groupies.”

“I will be working in one place for the day shift and somewhere else for the night shift and people will follow me from bar to bar or will say, ‘Hey, didn’t I see you before?’” Drager said. “… I get countless messages asking where I am working on any given day and that is lot a fun.”

And for now, she is content with her busy lifestyle.

“At one point, I had 13 job offers …when I quit a managerial position,” Drager said.

Her future dream though is not working for someone else.

It’s having her own place.

“I would love to ultimately have my own bar,” she said. “I am just waiting for the right opportunity to present itself.”

As she pours beer after beer, calls each customer by name and stacks countless glasses for other servers, her dream doesn’t seem far off.

Known as the “bag lady” for the various bags she must carry around with changes of clothes, a sweatshirt, make-up or various pairs of shoes, Drager often only has a few hours between her back-to-back shifts.

Maybe, there is a cape in her bag after all.

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