Half Door General Manager Erin LaRosa

Half Door General Manager Erin LaRosa (CTNow, Sara Grant / July 7, 2014)

The Half Door General Manager Erin LaRosa was putting herself through college bartending and waiting at chain restaurants thinking to herself "this is the last thing I want to do with my life." She ended up working at The Half Door in Hartford, graduated college and realized she really loved working in restaurants so she turned it into a career.

Q: Why a new cocktail menu?

A: We were doing a remodel and saw that the neighborhood was changing. Customers needs and wants were changing. We decided to cater to them instead of having people conform to what we were doing before. The tradition is still here. We're still an Irish pub with primarily European beers. We still do shots of whiskey but we wanted to offer something else. We're going to try to grow it, add to it. This could be a cocktail destination as well.

Q: What's it been like going from slinging beers to crafting cocktails?

A: It doesn't change too much. Logistically we're trying to move things around so the bartenders can work quickly and get the drinks out. We still have people in here doing shots and drinking beer so we still have that going on as well. It took the bartenders some getting used to and some convincing, but once we showed them that it was easy and a way to offer a better product they embraced it.

Q: Which new cocktail is your favorite?

A: My favorite is The Bitter Hipster. It's the first cocktail I ever created on my own. I love gin and grapefruit juice and campari. And it looks beautiful in a glass!

Q:This is a big World Cup bar, what has it been like?

A: It's been madness. We have a lot of Engligh and Italian customers so the crowd has been very diverse. Everyone is coming in to watch the matches, we love it. The staff has been really into it too, watching the matches while serving people.

The Half Door, 270 Sisson Ave, Hartford, is open Monday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m., Friday 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Information: 860-232-7827 and thehalfdoorhfd.com.