• Behind the Bar: Meet Tatiana Ilnicki, Bartender Extraordinaire

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    On a night out in Hoboken or Jersey City, sometimes you just want to go to a place where everybody knows your name {yes, the punny Cheers ref was necessary}. Many of us do just that but don’t always get to learn anything beyond the bartender’s actual name. So we’re taking it to the clubs, dives, and cocktail lounges to scope out the coolest, most noteworthy bartenders in the Hudson County area that deserve a little shout {especially after dealing with our inebriated selves on a regular basis} in a brand new series — Behind the Bar. We’ll be deep-diving into the lives of some of Hudson County’s coolest, best bartenders to give you a sneak peek at the person behind the bar.

    First up in our series is Tatiana Ilnicki. Once a Hoboken girl but now Jersey City resident, Tatiana is a bartender that has been on our radar for a while. From her lust-worthy IG posts on @HobokenHomes to her Hudson County real estate career and her presence on the bar scene as a Hoboken bartender, Tatiana has her toes dipped into so much. She is our first featured Behind the Bar bartender for so many reasons. Read on to meet Tatiana and get to know the woman behind the bar at some local haunts.

    tatiana ilnicki behind the bar

    Where do you live?

    I used to live in Hoboken. My boyfriend and I just moved to Downtown Jersey City in May. I am absolutely obsessed with it. 

    Where do you work? 

    Right now, I work at Wild Moose Saloon {30 Newark Street, Hoboken}. It’s the only full-blown country bar in the area and it’s great. I have been bartending for almost 10 years, so I have worked in many places. 

    tatiana behind the bar

    {Photo credit: @tatiana.ilnicki}

    Are you single or married?

    I am not single or married — but I have been dating my boyfriend Eric for two and a half years, and we live together in Jersey City. 

    See More: Hoboken Couple Travels the World on an Endless Honeymoon

    What is your favorite drink to make?

    Anything spicy. I love making spicy margaritas with jalapeños. My favorite thing to make is a Chocolate Covered Pretzel Shot — Frangelico with whipped or vanilla vodka. You put salt on your hand and lick it off just like a Tequila shot and then you drink. It’s the most glorious thing you’ll ever have — literally so delicious. 

    What is your least favorite drink to make?

    Oh God, anything with Red Bull — it actually gives me heart palpitations just smelling it. Also, I can’t forget about the time someone once asked me for a mojito at 1:30AM in the morning. 

    What’s the craziest drink you’ve been asked to make? 

    People take some wild shots. I have seen people chug drinks out of dirty shoes. There is this thing where you take the mats from the bar top and pour whatever liquids are on it into a shot glass and take that. Honestly, I am the most boring drinker, which is a surprise because I work in bars but people are crazy!

    What’s the best pickup line you’ve heard? 

    I haven’t heard anything great, honestly.

    What’s the worst pick up line you’ve heard? 

    The worst are guys who leave a dollar tip and their phone number. {Editor’s note: Leave 20% ladies + gents — take care of your bartenders!}

    tatiana behind the bar real estate

    {Photo credit: @tatiana.ilnicki}

    What do you do on your days off?

    I only bartend twice a week. I don’t do full weekends like I used to because I do real estate full time in Hoboken and Jersey City, which is fun. These Condo McMansions, as we call them, are going up around Garden, Park, and Bloomfield. So many brownstones are being restored and they are fun because they are so unique. Everything is like $1.8 [million] and over but they are beautiful. And then obviously, running Hoboken Homes on Instagram.

    What’s the best part about being a bartender?

    Definitely the number of people that I have met. I can honestly say that through the 10 years I have been bartending, I have met thousands of people just from working in the industry. I have met some of my closest girlfriends [bartending] and I even kind of started dating my boyfriend through bartending. I remember back in college when I worked at bars in Arizona, I met a ton of professional athletes, which was pretty cool. 

    What’s the worst thing about being a bartender? 

    Definitely getting home at 4:00AM. People don’t realize that we have to clean up the mess that they make afterward, count every single dollar, and figure out every single tip that was left, not to mention tracking down all of the customers who forget their credit cards. It takes a long time to do all of that. On weekdays, I usually get home around midnight. Weeknights are much earlier than weekends; I usually get home around 4:00AM-4:30AM. The adrenaline kicks in and you just go.

    Read More: Rob Lawless: On a Mission to Meet 10,000 People 

    What’s one thing you wish people knew about being a bartender?

    Oh, a million things. I wish people would understand that we see you! You do not have to yell, or scream, or throw your card in the air. We see you and we will get to you. We have an order in our minds and we will eventually get to you. 

    tatiana ilnicki

    {Photo credit: @tatiana.ilnicki}

    What’s your schedule at Wild Moose Saloon like?

    I only work two days a week — usually either Thursday and Friday or Thursday and Saturday. Weekday nights go from 4:00PM-12:00AM and weekends from 7:00PM-4:00AM. It’s a really long night. Bars in Hoboken close at 2:30AM. The last call is at 2:15AM and then you’re out. We pretty much close everything down 15 minutes later. When I worked outside of NJ, some bars didn’t close until 4:00AM and I didn’t get home until 5:00 or 6:00AM, which was rough.

    What’s your favorite place to go out when you’re not working? 

    Recently, I have been going to spots in Downtown Jersey City. I love that area. I love The Ashford. I’d rather be down there than in a crowded bar in Hoboken now. I am creepin’ on 30, not having a bachelorette party or doing stuff like that. Jersey City has a different vibe. 

    Interested in learning more about Tatiana? Follow her on IG @tatiana.ilnicki and her other IG accounts @HobokenHomes, @tatianarealtor, and @dood.its.gracielou and pay her a visit at Wild Moose Saloon! She makes a killer spicy marg, jussayin’.

    Do you know of a bartender you think should be featured in our Behind the Bar Series? Email us at hello@hobokengirl.com


    Written by:

    Hoboken homeowner and lover of all things local, Danielle made her home in the Mile Square City nearly six years ago. Danielle is a second grade teacher by day; after hours, she can be found in the kitchen whipping up a a new recipe or grabbing a bite to eat with her husband and friends. Danielle is the try-er and buyer of all things beauty and loves finding a good deal. Shopping on Washington, interior decorating, and riding her Peloton are just a few of Danielle's favorite things. Oh, and did we mention her undying love for the New York Yankees?