Birchwood Taproom in Riverhead’s Polish Town, the 2013 Dan’s Best of the Best choice for Best German Food, now has another accolade to boast about: home of Long Island’s Hottest Bartender, Katy Groeber.
The Aquebogue native has worked at Birchwood for about five years. She said she learned about the WBAB 102.3 contest from a regular customer and good friend. She was not interested at first. “I didn’t really think much of it,” she said. “But when she thought of the good it could do for the bar—and the $5,000 prize—she decided to enter.
She submitted some candid photos—including two in which she is wearing body paint for promotions work in the Hamptons—and some professional shots she had handy that were taken by a friend for his portfolio.
Groeber said she has never aspired to be a model as a career, but has done some modeling work here and there and has a background in singing. Outside of bartending, she is a freelance artist in a range of styles, from murals to illustrations and design. She graduated from University of Hartford with summa cum laude honors and a degree in illustration.
Groeber credits her win to the Birchwood staff and customers. “They all got behind me,” she said. “They were all voting and promoting.”
There were three rounds, and out of each came two finalists. As one of the final six, she was invited into the WBAB studio with the other bartenders to go on air with hosts Roger and JP. Other contestants did body shots in the studio, but she refrained. “I’m not a party girl or anything like that,” she said. “I’m very laid back and mellow.”
The whole contest experience made her realize how much support she has from her friends, Groeber said. ”I felt very blessed.”
Birchwood Taproom is located at 512 Pulaski Street, Riverhead.