Photos by Kate and Michael Auda
Seasonal craft cocktails, locally sourced cuisine and live music aren't the only attractions drawing throngs of people to Carmel Valley 's new Westroot Tavern. The already-popular upscale sports bar by Verant Group (the hospitality team behind Tavern at the Beach, Sandbar Sports Bar & Grill, True North Tavern and barleymash, among others) also lures locals with bartenders the likes of Monica Stockwell.
PacificSD: Got any nicknames?
MONICA STOCKWELL: Most of my friends call me "Moni," and my co-workers call my "Big Stocks," because my mini-me, my sister, also works here.
What do you love most about working at Westroot?
I can honestly say the management and the team that I work with have made this experience one of my favorites. I've gained so many new friends and enjoy going in to work to see everyone and my regulars. And that's no bullsh**.
What do customers like about the place?
The bartenders. But, really, it's the experience they have from the moment they walk in. A lot of customers have mentioned they love the live music on Wednesday nights. There is nothing else like it in Carmel Valley.
What's your favorite drink to make here?
I would say the Bee's Knees. It's a combination of bourbon, honey, lemon and peach bitters served in a fun bear mug.
How long have you been bartending?
I've been bartending for the past five years. When I moved down to San Diego [from Santa Cruz], I started in the industry to put myself through school.
Where else in San Diego have you worked?
I used to work at Seau's, and, when they closed, I got a position at True Food Kitchen and Rimel's. I just started with the Verant Group when they opened Westroot.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
When I was really little, I wanted to be a race car driver. I have that to thank for getting four speeding tickets in one year.
Are you working on any long-term goals?
I recently decided I wanted to go back to school to be a juvenile probation counselor, to have something to fall back on. And my current position at Westroot allows me to continue working on my goals.
If you were an entrepreneur, what business would you start?
My ultimate goal is to open my own child-care center because, let's be honest, if Trump becomes president, there will be lots of babies running around.
What do you get into when you're not working?
Gym, tan, laundry - thank you, "Jersey Shore." And the occasional Sunday Funday.
Got any unique skills or talents?
Don't get any weird ideas, but I recently just beat my own personal record for fastest time tying a cherry stem with just my mouth. Thank you, Cabo.
For other surprises from Stockwell, not to mention a surprisingly energetic nightlife experience in Carmel Valley, follow San Diego's boulevard of suburban dreams (Route 56) to Westroot. And, when ordering a Bee's Knees, be sure to ask for a cherry on top.
6025 Village Way, Carmel Valley
(in The Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch)