50 YEARS ON THE JOB

Brag­ging rights: Fe­male bar­tender might be Pa.’s first ‘From the old days’: Reg­u­lars to re­unite for cel­e­bra­tion

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - THE TIMES HERALD - By Gary Puleo gpuleo@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Mus­tangMan48 on Twit­ter NORRISTOWN»If

you’ve stopped by for a drink at Co­letti’s Town Tav­ern any­time in the last half cen­tury there’s a good chance the per­son who poured it and served it to you was Elsie Jag­gers.

The diminu­tive, easy­go­ing woman has been work­ing at Co­letti’s since 1966, when she started out as a cook be­cause a woman wasn’t al­lowed to mix drinks in Penn­syl­va­nia at the time, un­less she was the wife or daugh­ter of the sa­loon pro­pri­etor.

The suc­cess­ful post-World War II ef­forts by male-only bar­tenders’ unions to es­tab­lish state laws ban­ning women from be­hind the bar were re­voked in Penn­syl­va­nia in 1968, giv­ing Jag­gers en­try onto the brave new fron­tier of bar keep­ing.

And now she’s been the res­i­dent mixol­o­gist at Co­letti’s from the era of Richard Nixon to Don­ald Trump, and count­ing.

Jag­gers wasn’t ex­actly keen on earn­ing her no­to­ri­ety as a trail­blazer in the late ’60s. Her mo­ti­va­tion to tend bar came from her boss, who was only too happy to pro­vide im­me­di­ate on-the-job train­ing.

“Char­lie, the owner, put me right in be­hind the bar mak­ing drinks be­cause he needed a bar­tender,” Jag­gers re­called. “He’d say, ‘Go make me a mar­tini, make me a Man­hat­tan,’ and that’s how I learned how to mix drinks.”

The de­mand has changed dra­mat­i­cally since then. There’s not a lot of call for Jag­gers to raz­zle-daz­zle pa­trons with much jig-

GARY PULEO — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Elsie Jag­gers serves up a Coors Lite to Co­letti’s Town Tav­ern owner Sam Ngov as cus­tomer John Nelk looks on.

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