Ask the barman: All we need is Radio E.P.G.B

Working at one of Tel Aviv's most happening underground spots, Maya Lustig treats the bar as her stage and the party-goers as her audience.

Maya Lustig at Radio EPGP (photo credit: Yoni Cohen)
Maya Lustig at Radio EPGP
(photo credit: Yoni Cohen)
28-year-old Maya Lustig "performs" at Radio E.P.G.B most nights as a bartender. After spending some time managing her own bar in New York, she returned to be a part of Tel Aviv's crazt nightlife scene. Hidden deep underground, Radio E.P.G.B has a funky vibe with fresh, unique music. The crowd is cool, and party-goers are always up for a good time. The nights carry on into the late hours of the morning and Maya, who is studying for a B.A in Communication and Management, enjoys every minute. She took a 10-minute break to talk about who her ideal drinking partner would be, and how she got into the trade.

How did you get into bartending?
When I was 20 I moved to New York and looked for a job and I very quickly became the manager of a bar. I was in charge of everything there and I ended up getting my own license. That's where I learned the profession.
How long have you been making drinks?
Five years.
What is the craziest night you have ever had?
Every night is a crazy night.
Who is the most interesting customer that has ever sat at the bar while you were working?
I would have to say my dad. He is so proud of me. He came in and said, "That's my daughter!"
Photo: Yoni CohenPhoto: Yoni CohenWho would be your dream customer?
An amazing hunky guy. He would leave the best tip and he would order something like a talisker or a wild turkey - I love a guy that knows his liquor.
What would you serve them?
Whiskey. And I don't even like whiskey.
What does it take be a bartender?
You have to be fast, dynamic and a people person. It's all about being an entertainer. You have to love people or they won't love you back. Also, you really have to know how to drink.
What is your favorite drink to make?
Arak grapefruit. It is the simplest drink to make.
What is your least favorite drink to make?
Either a mojito or caipirinha. There are too many lemons and limes involved and they take too much time to make.
What is your pet peeve about being a bartender?
I hate it when people ask for no foam on their beer. That just shows that they know nothing about drinks. Everyone knows that you have to have foam on a beer!
What is the best tip you've ever gotten?
NIS 500. And that was just for one drink. I even remember what they ordered - it was a Jameson.
Who would be your ideal drinking partner?
Elvis. That man loved to drink!
Photo: Yoni CohenPhoto: Yoni CohenWhat is the best part of the job?
Well, the bar is the stage and I am the performer. It is as if I am getting ready for a live show. I'm acting and giving the public what they want. When the night ends and the curtain closes that's when I stop performing.
This place allows me to be myself and give it everything that I have.
How many people a night try to hit on you?
Too many to count. But I have to say that just because bartenders get hit on a lot it doesn't mean that they always go home with people.
Any tips for those looking to be a bartender?
Love the people and they will love you back!

Radio E.P.G.B, 7 Shadal Street Tel Aviv. Open from 9:00 p.m. till very late every night.