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Bar Tab SIP COUNSELOR Nicole Morales is not a mixologist, bar chef or cocktail chemist. She’s a professional bartender who practices her craft with blinding Bruce Lee speed, but also takes the time to give guidance. T E X T BY R O NY M O PH OTOS BY KO R E Y DAV IS 106 “M ixology is definitely in my skillset, but I see it as a method rather than a career,” says Nicole Morales as she delivers a row of daps to a group of regulars. “It’s a term that tends to disregard the social element that’s so important to bartending. She knows as much about behavior as she does about beverages, as any graduate of FIU’s Department of Sociocultural Studies and Grovetoberfest’s Marketing Internship Program should. Her encyclopedic knowledge of craft beer, knack for turning frowns upside-down and ability to keep regulars happy has assured her positions at World Of Beer, Will Call and Blue Martini. Her experiences have taught her that it’s a bartender’s responsibility to keep the atmosphere festive. Mope around her bar for too long and she’ll assign you and a partner the task of constructing a Giant Jenga tower under the illumination of Christmas lights. “If that doesn’t brighten the mood, I’ll mention Pancho’s Taco Car — every Ghostbusters or Tex-Mex fan should see it,” she laughs. The converted ’59 Cadillac Miller-Meteor comparable to ECTO-1 is permanently parked, but stands ready to exorcise your hunger. Delight in late-night quesadillas, tacos, sliders and chicken wings while sitting at communal picnic tables meant to encourage interaction, or hang out on the custom-made bleachers designed for people-watching. Wood Tavern set-up shop in Wynwood long before it was a cog in the international art machine and has stayed there because the art space/ dance destination/Mexican cantina vibe makes everyone feel like it’s their bar; 2531 NW 2nd Ave.; 305.748.2828; WoodTavern.com. Chile Tequila 2 oz. Don Julio Silver Tequila 1 tsp. Agave Syrup Squeeze of Lime Juice Dash of Habanero Hot Sauce Muddled Cucumber Splash of Club Soda Cucumber Slice for garnish