Bar Beat

Cocktail Therapy: Cayla Herns of Hawg Stop

Cayla Herns getting ready for a busy Sunday at Hawg Stop.
Photo by Kate McLean
Cayla Herns getting ready for a busy Sunday at Hawg Stop.
Initially, it would be easy to classify Hawg Stop as a biker bar—because it is. But really, Hawg Stop feels more like a place than a bar; a campfire where all are welcome.

While the live music, hawg-friendly atmosphere, and in this case, for Veterans day, a free barbecue cookout, draw people out to the spacious, country property; underneath that, it seems the close-knit family of staff and the culture that owner Delmer Barkley has cultivated is why people really congregate there. And a big part of that, behind the bar, is Cayla Herns, who in just two years time and at 25 years old became bar manager. Luckily for her, she still slings drinks, which is by far her favorite part.

Wearing two hats at work is a juggle; and on top of that she’s a mother to a seven-year-old boy and seven-month-old girl. Typically, her shifts begin at 5:45 p.m. and end around 3 a.m. and she’s thankful for those hours. Because her other half works during the day; they rarely need a babysitter.

For Herns, getting to know the eclectic group of clientele, the different bands traveling through, is the most interesting part of the day-to-day. “We get people from all over the world stopping by—from Germany, all over. We get the people that just want to listen to free music, and the people that will buy the whole bar a shot, I love the diversity.”

Live music is a big part of Hawg Stop. Bands are managed by Herns Thursdays through Sunday, with Sunday being their most popular day. That crisp day in particular, it was Logan Soileau and The Cards warming up the space— and the performance was nothing short of electrifying.

click to enlarge Currently melting. - PHOTO BY KATE MCLEAN
Currently melting.
Photo by Kate McLean
Hawg Stop is a relatively big venue; they frequently host events like car shows. Barkley explains sometimes they’ll have up to 1,000 bikes parked on site. Police clubs meet here, biker clubs meet here; it really is a place for all. Herns further dismissed the perception of this “biker bar” as being a dangerous place. “I love the biker guests, they are friends, they are family. You’d expect biker bars to have bar fights, but not here. There is a lack thereof because of the bikers.” If anything, Herns continued, the biker culture makes them feel safer—like a built-in security.

click to enlarge Pulling up. - PHOTO BY KATE MCLEAN
Pulling up.
Photo by Kate McLean
"Monkey on Speed"

Frozen shot glass
1 shot Patrón XO Cafe
1 floater I'm Bananas Over You banana flavored cocktail

Fill the shot glass, three quarters full with Patrón XO Cafe.  Pour the I'm Bananas Over You slowly down the side of the shot glass so that it floats on top. The "Monkey on Speed" is scary delicious.

click to enlarge The Monkey on Speed is exactly as it sounds; definitely recommend. - PHOTO BY KATE MCLEAN
The Monkey on Speed is exactly as it sounds; definitely recommend.
Photo by Kate McLean
Shot of Advice: For bartenders; have a thick skin, don’t let stuff bother you. Initialy guests will get mad if you cut them off; but the next day they appreciate it. Good service equals a good tip. In life; just keep going. There are ups and downs and that's never going to stop. Ride the wave.

And on the awkward subject of how to cut people off, Herns advises, "because people do have a negative reaction to it, you want to make it about them. Tell them, 'hey, I want you to be able to come back tomorrow.' Also, I try to make it where all of the bartenders have input; everybody is more likely to go through with it as a solution if we all came to it together."