Juliet Jones grew up in Fayetteville, Ga, and graduated from Fayette County High School. She moved to Athens in 2003 to attend UGA, where she earned a Bachelor of Business degree in Risk Management and Insurance from the Terry College (class of ‘09). Juliet works as a bartender at The National and The Expat, and is part of the organizing committee for BreastFest Athens, an annual fundraiser that raises money to provide local women with free mammograms. She also plays 3rd base for the Supertonics softball team in the ACC Leisure services adult league. Juliet lives in Five Points with her partner Brent, and their cat Freddie Cuddles.
What led you to your current career?
It started out as a job I did to get to college essentially. I worked in restaurants and I always wanted to be in the bar….I liked the rapport of bartender and guests a lot. I had always liked cooking, since I was a kid, and I really liked the fact that you get to kind of be like a cook or a chef and build your own creations; it is kind of like cooking, but with liquid! It is creative and also social, and I really like that so working in restaurants right off the bat I knew I wanted to be at the bar. There is a lot to learn too. When I started doing it, it was the early 2000s so there wasn’t this cocktail revival movement that had happened yet. It was just a lot of terrible bottled mixers. As time went on, the whole cocktail revolution happened, and that is when people really took more ownership on the job, like you aren’t just a bartender, there is a cultural history behind drinks. There is an art to it. There is a science behind it. And, there is a lot more to it than just popping a bottle of beer.
What is your favorite restaurant in Athens, and what do you love there?
My favorite restaurant is Seabear. It is my go to restaurant. I love the Ramen. The oysters. And for more everyday fare I love Cali-N-Titos. They have great tacos, and really everything there is good. Plus it’s cheap! Brent and I can eat there it is like eight bucks. It is cheap, it is fun, it is good and the people that work there are awesome. We go to the Royal Peasant a lot too. We love the people there and the burgers are amazing.
Tell me about one of the vacations or trips you have taken that you loved and think of as one of your favorites.
I guess Yellowstone. It was meant to be a vacation and then it turned into me working out there for three years. It really is my favorite place in the world. I went there after the financial crisis. I graduated college and it was the peak of the financial crisis and there were hiring freezes all over the country and no jobs. I searched for about a year, and I had always been in the service industry which is what makes it so cool. It is almost like a trade, you can go anywhere with it. So, I had a friend going and I kind of piggybacked on her. I was like I will go out there for a season, one season, and I will come back to Athens. I will go for six months, or five and a half months, and then I got offered a contract and a raise to come back for the winter. I had never really have seen it in winter before so I figured I’d go back. I loved it and I cross-country skied and I worked, and it was great. it is one of the most beautiful, secluded places in the world and I worked in the hotel with 150 other people and really learned what cabin fever feels like! They asked me to stay on and manage the hotel for the summer, so I did and then they asked I would come back for another winter. I said, okay. So, it kind of snowballed. It was meant to be kind of like a vacation to get my mind right and to get away from the financial crisis to do something fun. It ended up turning into a three year almost vacation, but I got paid for it so that is probably like my best vacation.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
That is a tough question. One place I have always wanted to go my entire life is Iceland. They have thermal features, they have beaches, they have mountains, they have Bjork. Or, maybe Tokyo. I want to go somewhere weird. Somewhere off the beaten path.
If you could see one band at the Georgia Theatre, dead or alive, who would it be?
That is a really hard question. There are so many bands. Nirvana would be cool. I was a 90s kid, so Nirvana. If I had to pick somebody still alive, I don’t know I could circle back to Bjork. That would just be amazing.
What is your favorite movie you have seen lately?
I have two. One was BlacKkKlansmen [Spike Lee]. just for the level of how it reaches you emotionally. It touches you on every level. Emotionally it made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me cringe, it made me think. I laughed out loud more times during that movie than I thought I ever would. It was comedy, a drama… everything. I thought it was very smart. Then, Mother. That was wonderfully done on a great level. I like myth and fantasy and breaking that down into modern art. I thought that was really cool how they took old world religion and myth and put it in a very surreal and modern setting.
What are your favorite things to do in Athens?
I love to go to the Botanical Gardens. I love going to see live music no matter where it is, 40 Watt, Georgia Theatre, Caledonia, Hi-Lo. It doesn’t matter. I love any event where the community comes together, whether it is Wild Rumpus, Hot Corner Festival or whatever where you get everyone in town just coming together and having a good time on the streets. All our local festivals are awesome, because all of the venues come together and I like that a lot. Hot Corner, AthFest, Twilight, Wild Rumpus, everybody comes together and makes it fun.
Do you have any advice that anyone has ever given you that is really good advice?
I do not know that I have any on the top of my head, but I did just watch RBG [documentary about Ruth Bader Ginsburg]. I thought what she had to say is really awesome about how she grew up. I am paraphrasing, but she said her mother always said to always be a lady. Being a lady meant to..not per se not express what you believe in, but don’t get angry at people. Don’t yell because you are defeating the whole purpose. You are already losing who you are trying to speak to. So, being a lady means having an open conversation, but also having enough gumption to stand up for what you believe in. I think maybe because I watched that recently it kind of sticks in my mind and a wonderful role model giving good advice. Keeping your composure because you will not be able to speak with someone from an opposite point of view. otherwise…you have to be diplomatic. There is kind of a derogatory sense of the word “lady”. I think especially since feminism in the 70s, being a lady means you just roll over. She is like no being a lady is just like being a gentlemen, it is not laying down, it is not being walked all over, being a lady is being civil, getting things done and that is a powerful thing to take that word back and say we are ladies. It does not mean we are subordinate. Ladies are strong and being a lady means being able to sit at the table and having conversations and negotiate.
What three words do you think of when you think of home?
Bulldogs, Waffle House and the community here in Athens. Anytime I leave and come back, I can just jump right back in. I can roll into Seabear and see Hunt or anywhere everyone just always welcomed me back like nothing had changed. No matter how far I went away or how much I traveled, I was always welcomed back home by the community. So, that is kind of an intangible thing that I cannot describe, but that is what makes this town exceptional.