The Flying Iguana has made a distinctive imprint on the Northeast Florida food and bev scene. Featuring live music, creative signature cocktails, local craft beers, more than 100 tequilas, and an exciting fusion of Latin American cuisine in the heart of the Beaches Town Center–a block away from the Atlantic Ocean and across the street from sister restaurant, Coop 303–the place is buzzing nearly every night of the week.
Bartender Ashantie Shakiera Hakker is just one of the spirited characters shaking it up nightly at the Flying Iguana. Elbow up to this interview, and get to know Hakker.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen working behind the bar?
Wow, it’s hard to pick just one because right when you think you’ve seen it all, someone comes up with something new and equally terrifying. Most recently a man was really enjoying our fresh and delicious guacamole so much so that he was using his entire face to eat it straight out of the bowl. Did I mention this was on a busy Friday night shift? Guacamole was all over (but not limited to) his face, hair, neck, etc. I mean I get it, our guacamole is the best. He even offered to share with unwilling bar guests.
What do you love about your job?
Flying iguana is my home. I’ve been there since day one. We are a family, sometimes when we get busy, we fight. But we always, always, always come back to love and help each other both personally and professionally, no matter what. I also love our regulars who share their stories.
If you could have a drink with anyone alive or dead, who would it be and why?
Definitely Frida Kahlo. She has always been one of my favorite artists and she’s a legendary feminist icon. Also, I’ve read she and I have one thing in common; we both like our alcohol like we like the content of our conversations: straight up.
After a long day working behind the bar, what is your favorite drink/brew to wind down with?
It depends on the shift. For example, on a celebratory night I’m having tequila with some sort of easily accessible bubbly—either, champagne or Prosecco. But if it’s the end of a longer shift, well, tequila again, but paired with a beer—usually a[n Intuition] Jon boat.
You’re inside the bar and it’s burning down. You have enough time to save one keg. What is it?
I would save our swap shop (house margarita) keg, for sure. It’s got tequila in it and it’s also the lightest keg, so I could easily grab the two that are in our keg cooler. Priorities!