Behind the Bar: Mo El-Nakeeb
Vola’s Dockside Grill & Hi-Tide Lounge
101 North Union Street
How did you get started in the bartending business?
I never thought I would end up a bartender, never liked drinking a lot, and I didn’t think I had the gumption for it. At the time I was working as a server at an Old Town favorite, the Flying Fish, and the owner, Larry, sat me down the day before I turned 21 and basically said he saw something in me and he was throwing me on the bar the next day. Little did I know I would absolutely love it and would want to make a career out of it.
What is your biggest bartender pet peeve?
Everyone always says they hate making mojitos or people asking for something “fun”, but to be honest I don’t really have any pet peeves. I love every aspect of the industry and I know that sounds like such a cookie cutter answer but I truly mean it.
What is the cleverest line anyone has ever used to get you to give them a free drink?
One night someone made a bet with me that they could say 20 words in under 20 seconds without the letter “A” in any of them. I was thinking there was absolutely no way someone could rattle off that many words off the top of their head in under 20 seconds so I was down. And then he started counting…“one, two, three, four….” All the way to twenty…apparently we don’t spell numbers with the letter “A”. He definitely earned his free drink.
What is the best/worst pickup line you have overheard at the bar?
I haven’t had the chance to hear any great pickup lines, but I’ve definitely been an accessory to escaping them. I’ve pretended to be women’s boyfriends, brothers, even someone’s son once to help get away from that creepy person at the bar.
Tell us about an interesting encounter you have had with a customer(s).
Every encounter with customers is interesting because you never know what you’re going to get that day. Could be someone who just went through a divorce on the verge of tears or someone who just won the lottery and wants to buy the whole bar a few rounds. At the end of the day the job title “bartender” essentially means having crazy encounters all the time with random people.
If you could sit down and have a drink with anyone in the world, past or present, who would that be?
Definitely my grandfather. He died when I was younger but what I remember of him was his love. Intense and passionate love for his family and especially for his young grandson at the time. I would love to let him see the man I’ve become today and get his thoughts on the world.
Mo is behind the bar every day at this point! Vola’s has been open a short 5 days at the time of this writing.
Mo Shakes up the Hi Tide Mai Tai