I have been interviewing bartenders for a long time and they all seem to have this one trait in common — a gregarious personality. Bartenders tend to be outgoing people and have a strong desire to be around people. I also believe that they are all true entertainers even if that may not be their actual vocation. They keep us laughing, they take our mind off our problems, they inform us, but most of all they entertain. My bartender for the month of February is both an entertainer in front and behind the bar. ChiChi Rodriguez is a cocktail goddess who works at Oz.
Originally from Michigan, ChiChi has lived in New Orleans for the last ten years so in my opinion that qualifies her to local status. She has worked at Oz for that amount of time also, starting out in the daiquiri bar, overnights and the Porn Room (oh, the Porn Room, good memories).
ChiChi not only works behind the bar, but she also performs on stage as one of the Ladies of Oz Sunday nights. Whether on stage or behind the bar, ChiChi is quite the entertainer. She can sling drinks quickly and efficiently while being personable and witty. Her cocktail-making skills are excellent. When guests come in not knowing what to order and say, “Surprise me”, they receive one of her famous takes on a rum punch. Whenever she goes out, she orders a “ChiChi” which is a Stoli Blueberry and Sprite.
Apart from the great money made from being a bartender, ChiChi loves the people she meets and is thrilled when the out-of-towners remember her every time they return to Oz. COVID affected her tremendously. “I went from making quite a lot each week to nothing. Business is slowly returning and if everyone does their part, we shall be where we were once before!“
In addition to being a bartender and entertainer, you can add “entrepreneur” to ChiChi’s list of accomplishments. She started a tee-shirt heat-pressing shop creating Oz merchandise as well as her own ChiChi Merch. The business is slowly taking off, so if anyone is interested in a custom shirt, they can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at mizzchichi.com
Definitely come out to see ChiChi either behind the bar or on-stage. Her normal shifts bartending are 9-5 Wednesday through Saturday. And sometimes, you may even see her working security. Oz is located at 800 Bourbon Street.