5:30 pm, Memorial Union Stiftskeller

Joe Wagner has finished a full day of classes, sat through a two-hour meeting and is now tending bar at Der Stiftskeller in the Memorial Union, one of Madison’s most iconic places to get a beer for UW students and Madisonians alike.

“People come here for the atmosphere,” says Wagner, a supervisor. “People come here to talk with their friends and listen to music.”

But Wagner doesn’t get to enjoy it the same way that other UW-Madison students do. He is bartending until the place closes tonight.

“It is a bummer when you see your friends going out and I work till midnight,” he says.

Wagner is a senior and has been working at Der Stiftskeller for two years. He’s gotten a real understanding of how the crowds work.

“Adults want to drink a good beer and drink it slowly with friends,” he explains. “Students want the cheap stuff.”

Which does he prefer?

“I have Celiac disease,” he says. “But we have a gluten-free beer that I get sometimes.”

– Sara Schumacher

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