Graham Kilmer

Send Your Favorite Bartender a Tip

Tip MKE is a directory that helps you find local bartenders and servers to tip during the shutdown.

By - Mar 21st, 2020 09:30 am
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Sharon Collopy making a vodka soda at Taylor's. Photo by Mariiana Tzotcheva.

Sharon Collopy making a vodka soda at Taylor’s. Photo by Mariiana Tzotcheva.

If you are worried about how your favorite local bartenders and servers are faring during the effective service industry shutdown, see if you can find them on this newly-released directory.

Milwaukeean Allen Halas, who runs the local music website Breaking & Entering, wanted to do something to help the many out-of-work service industry members. A state order designed to slow the spread of COVID-19 limits public gatherings to 10 people, closed bars and requires restaurants to only provide carryout and delivery

Halas told Urban Milwaukee he saw a lot of digital tipping and GoFundMe offerings popping up in the wake of the shutdown. He wanted to do something to help.

So he created Tip MKE, A living digital directory of Milwaukee bartenders and servers. The directory lists names, places of employment and individual Venmo, Cashapp, PayPal and other digital money transferring accounts connected with service industry members. So if you’re worried about the bartender at your favorite local watering hole, you can lend them some support through Tip MKE.

“It’s a way to find people,” Halas said. “You might only know their first name and where they work.”

The directory went live on Thursday and already there are more than 400 service industry workers listed. Halas said he has not heard if anyone has been tipped through the directory, yet. But, the website did see 10,000 visitors in the first day.

After the shutdown, GoFundMe listings and relief funds started popping up all over. Some of them have been very successful. Urban Milwaukee has profiled a few, including a GoFundMe campaign for a historic LGBT bar and an employee relief fund set up for the part-time and service industry workers with the Pabst Theater Group.

Halas doesn’t work in the service industry, but he has a lot of friends and connections at bars and venues around the city because of the work he does with Breaking & Entering. And while the website has had to reschedule a number of events they had planned, it’s nothing compared to the situation service industry workers across the city are in, he said.

A lot of musicians work in the service industry, Halas said. So there are many across Milwaukee right now that lost a lineup of gigs and their day job all in one week.

Get in touch with them,” Halas said. “Let them know you’re thinking about them.”

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