Getting to know the person responsible for some of the tastiest drinks in town, Colleen Hughes.

Colleen Hughes via Crepe Cellar Kitchen + Pub

She is responsible for some of the most delicious cocktails in Charlotte. Colleen Hughes manages four cocktail programs at four distinctly different restaurants (Growlers Pourhouse, Crepe Cellar Kitchen & Pub, Sea Level NC, and her home base at Haberdish). Each has its own spin to reflect the food served, including oyster shooters at Sea Level, cocktails on tap at Growlers, and cocktails that reflect the pre-prohibition concept of Haberdish.

Haberdish infused ice via Haberdish

You can find her slinging delicious drinks at Haberdish most nights, but when she does have time off she takes it very seriously. Here’s what her typical day looks like:

9:30 – 10 a.m. … Rise and shine! Since I work nights, I typically try to wake up around 10 a.m. Although I set my alarm, usually one of my beloved pets seem to wake me up around 30 minutes before my alarm goes off. I do set my alarm and on the rare occasion I’m not woken up early, I may hit my snooze button anywhere from one to 10 times. Unlike most people I don’t usually HAVE to be anywhere until 2p.m. most days, so if I feel like I need some extra sleep, then Ill take advantage of my unique schedule.

10:20 a.m. … I get up and feed my cats. There is no peace in my house until Mr. Nibbles has been served his breakfast. I’ll then fix breakfast for myself, which is usually a juice or a smoothie, but sometimes I’ll have just water with lemon to start my day. No coffee for me, though. I gave up coffee to save my body for liquor… you have to pick your vices in life.  

10:30 a.m. … I usually check my phone within the first 20 minutes of waking up.
I normally don’t watch TV during the day, except I do watch the previous nights NBC Nightly News in the morning. I’m at work when it airs, but I like to stay in the know.

10:45 a.m. … Time for me to check emails and social media. I have recently been voted Vice President of the newly formed Charlotte chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild (USBG). I try to regularly dedicate a small amount of time to touch base with the other members of the board of directors.

11:00 a.m. … I think it is around this time where it gets very apparent that my lifestyle is different than most people. I’ll clean my house, go grocery shopping, and I do try to go to the gym daily. My boyfriend, James Murphy of Abari Game Bar, and I decided that we needed non-drinking hobbies. We recently started playing racquetball at the YMCA, where we are members, a few days a week.

1:30 p.m. … Lunch is the largest meal I eat during the day. James is also on a similar nighttime schedule, so in addition to racquetball, we do try to go out to lunch together a couple times a week. We don’t see each other some nights as I’m usually sleeping when he gets home.
It’s very important for us to make a point to spend afternoons together. We usually go out, typically in NoDa or Plaza Midwood, but sometimes I do cook for us at home. We are pescetarians, vegetarians that eat some seafood, so we tend to eat lots of Asian and Mexican. We love Lang Van Vietnamese.

2:30 p.m. … Time to get ready for work. Thank goodness I have a uniform of sorts for work. This cuts down on time needed for me to get ready and pick an outfit. On my nights off, it can take me a while to get ready to head out… too long if you asked my boyfriend.

I’ll shower and style my hair (I really keep to a 1940’s/50’s hairstyle… it works for me). I love makeup and skincare. I went to cosmetology school right out of high school and I love switching up my look.

3:30 p.m. … Time for work! When I’m at Haberdish, I usually work until 10 p.m. – 1 a.m. depending on the crowd, night of the week, etc.

When I have a day off (I try to give myself a night off every week), I love to chill and to spend time with my pets. During the day I’ll go to NoDa Company Store, Birdsong, NoDa, or Free Range breweries. I also love watching a movie at home with my fur babies.

If I have a Monday night off, I like to pop in to NoDa Yoga and take a class from my friend, Susan Hughes. She is awesome!

11:00 p.m. … This is usually the time I eat dinner. I try to keep what I eat very small since it is so late.

If I’m not still at Haberdish, I love going out to dinner with friends. I think most people who work in the food and beverage industry truly love going out and interacting with people. We couldn’t do what we do if we didn’t like interacting with others. Also, because of the Charlotte Chapter of the USBG I have gotten a chance to become friends with Charlotte’s leaders in the beverage scene. I like to go out and enjoy some time on the other side of the bar.

The staff from Crepe Cellar, Growlers and Haberdish hangs out at Growlers most nights and I try to join them after work ounce or twice a week. Sometimes I will go visit my boyfriend at Abari. If I have a night off, you can usually find me at Snug Harbor, Growlers, Sanctuary, Soul Gastrolounge, or the Evening Muse.

1:30 – 2:30 a.m. … First and foremost, I take off my makeup before I go to bed. I drink a big glass of water and feed Mr. Nibbles again… that cat wont let you miss a meal. Lights out!