Behind the Bar

Off the Clock with Jacyara de Oliveira

Black and white portrait of a woman against a dark wall
Jacyara de Oliveira spends her time off wisely: namely, with pisco sours and Game of Thrones. Photo: Nathan Michael.

Talk to Jacyara de Oliveira about her life away from the bar, and you’ll get the impression that spirits hover around her like a team of guardian angels. In addition to her role as head bartender and bar manager of Sportsman’s Club, the Chicago neighborhood tavern where a four-drink menu changes daily, de Oliveira is also a brand ambassador for Ancho Reyes, Encanto Pisco, Mandarine Napoleon and Tequila Ocho. At Sportsman’s, de Oliveira serves up drinks, manages private events, and is developing a retail component to the bar, where visitors will be able to attend classes and leave with ready-made kits. Heralded as this year’s winner of Speed Rack Chicago, she has also earned recognition as a Food and Wine Rising Star. Work is never too far away. But when de Oliveira’s tools are finally set down for the night, the Chicago native, avid bicyclist, and talented Instagrammer comes up with plenty of ways to play.

Your default off day

I wake up, go to the coffee shop that’s a few blocks from my house, sit down, and read a book. Some days I’ll bike down to the Lakefront for food and drinks—lately I like the patio at Nico Osteria.

After work you sip on…

Wine mostly. Right now, crisp rosé. My fridge is mostly wine and sherry. Plus, I live near one of the best wine bars in the city, Rootstock.

Bars you visit for a good drink

Chicago is blowing up right now, there’s so much good stuff. The Drifter has become one of my faves. It’s run by a couple of ladies, with an almost all-female bar staff. They always have a variety show going on, with lots of performers. Presidio is also fantastic—they do a great pisco punch. Their burger is one of the best in the city.

Your go-to cocktail(s)

Daiquiri. Margarita. Pisco sour. Those high acidic drinks, where you take ‘em down in three sips and feel good.

Fitness regimen

I’ve been doing capoeira for five years, an Afro-Brazilian martial art. It’s tough to maintain time-wise, but it keeps me mentally focused, feeling zen.

Last show you binge-watched

Game of Thrones. That was something I prioritized in my life. Everything’s going off the rails in that show. I was also really digging Chef’s Table.

Snack shelf must-have

I always have popcorn kernels because I like making stove-top popcorn. I add Parmesan, butter, salt, and some powdered clove—usually does the trick. I also have an affinity towards very expensive and well-designed chocolate bars, like The Mast Bros. chocolate bars.

Words of wisdom you’re relying on these days

When my friend Chris was starting to pick up running as a hobby, he posted something about the 30-second rule. So, running for 45 minutes can seem like a lot. But if you take 30 seconds at a time—you know, you start with putting your shoes on. That’s been helpful with so many things I have going on. Take them one step at a time. Like my inbox.



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