Friends With Benefits: Maggie O'Brien
After five years of bartending in her hometown of San Antonio, Texas, it was time for Maggie O’Brien and her husband to get out of Dodge. “There had to be a ‘wow’ factor for me to move,” she says. “My husband thought, ‘Hey, what about Vegas?’ Glitz, glamour, a party, and you’re the one serving drinks and you’re in this atmosphere that’s iconic, and I thought that would be amazing for me to pursue. To work on the Strip in a major casino hotel was my goal.”
In 2009, they made the move, and O’Brien has been fulfilling her goal ever since. She’s bartended on the Strip at restaurants, pools and nightclubs, and for the past five years, she’s been with Influence, The Pool at The Linq, where she’s the lead bartender. (You can also find O’Brien at 1 OAK nightclub at The Mirage, where she bartends full time, too.)
To be a good bartender, O’Brien says, “You have to be a chameleon. You have to be able to read your guest from the first 30 seconds you meet them and say hello; you have to read them and become that bartender for each individual. It’s like you’re playing different roles throughout your entire shift.”
It also helps to work with good management, she says, and she praises the management team at Influence. O’Brien says. “They’re the type of managers that listen to your voice and your input.”
And after five years, O’Brien loves her job at the pool—it was one of her goals she went after and achieved. “We are a hidden gem. Our prices are reasonable. We enjoy guests from all walks of life. … It’s a nice getaway, but you’re still having that Vegas vacation.”
Poolside cocktails can sometimes be rather ordinary, but not at Influence, The Pool at The Linq. The huge cocktail menu has some stellar specialty cocktails, including tasty mojitos like the Cucumber Mojito. The refreshing, slightly sweet-tasting cocktail is a nice balance of Stoli cucumber vodka, fresh cucumbers, house-pressed lime juice and mint. It’s topped with Fever-Tree ginger beer. Enjoy drink specials at the pool like Champagne Sundays, where you can enjoy bottomless mimosas and bloody Marys at the bar and also receive a free bottle of champagne with any regular bottle purchase. Check with the bar for other specials throughout the week.