25 Hotel Bartenders to Watch
Cheers to those creating, crafting, and executing drink experiences worth coming back for.
Mixology has come full circle in the last decade, in a way—bringing focus back to hotel bars as drink destinations, as they were in an era past. Often as important as the culinary staff and their impressive plates, bartenders are critical in stirring repeat business and word of mouth. In many cases, they are both maker and server—charged not just with executing a memorable tipple but with being an engaging face for the brand. Bartenders are both back- and front-of-house players.
Title: Copper Lounge Manager
Property Location: InterContinental Los Angeles Century City
“Scott is passionate about cocktails, and his enthusiasm very quickly transfers to those around him,” says Director of Outlets Leon Aceves. “He has a wealth of knowledge about different spirits and cocktails and most importantly how to offer true hospitality. He leads by example, as he is the epitome of a team player. Not only does Scott impress his own team with his leader-ship, but he impresses our guests on a daily basis with his unique menu that encourages discerning cocktail connois-seurs to try something new. We are so grateful to have Scott on our Copper Lounge and InterContinental Los Angeles Century City team.”
Title: Lead Bartender
Property Location: Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort
“Aaron is an incredibly valuable asset to not only Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort but the Hilton brand as a whole. He is an efﬁ cient leader within the F&B team, and treats all guests and team members with the utmost kindness and respect. Aaron leads the charge in our mixology offerings, from team-building courses for meetings/groups to our in-suite mixology expe-riences. We are very fortunate to have him on board,” says Kathryn Day, GM, Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort.
Title: Lead Bartender, Citizen Rail
Property Location: Kimpton Hotel Born, Denver
“Chris is a Bartender to Watch because he achieves excellence through subtle yet nuanced creativity,” says Andy Pishko, GM, Citizen Rail. “He finds his inspiration in classic cocktail builds and makes it his own through thoughtful and compelling changes. The cocktails at Citizen Rail pair so well with our food, because Chris takes the approach of recognizing what flavors are coming out of the kitchen and tying them into his cocktail recipes.”
Title: Resort Beverage Manager
Property Location: La Cantera Resort & Spa, San Antonio, Texas
Caldwell found his passion for beverages working behind the bar in Southern California, but he honed his skills in South Texas. Caldwell, who has a degree in hospitality management from California State Polytechnic Pomona, supervises a collection of nine diverse restaurants/bars. As a leader, he encourages staff training through cocktail education programs. Caldwell has earned BarSmarts Advanced honors this year and is currently studying for his Certified Specialty of Spirits certificate.
Title: Head Bartender, Fisk & Co.
Property Location: Kimpton Hotel Monaco Chicago
“Her approach to cocktails is very intellectual, authentic, and true to its roots,” says Tina Majethia, GM, Fisk & Co. “She does a lot of research into the history of cocktails, spirits, and techniques, which inspire each of her drinks. From there, her personality and sense of humor give the cocktails a story and entertain guests with their creativity. She approaches bartending in the same authentic fashion, finding that connection with the guest, and is able to offer them a unique experience. Bartending is not only about cocktails but also the art of hospitality, and Melissa excels at both.”
Title: Director of Mixology
Property Location: Fairmont the Queen Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec
Chabaane was trained in France, the U.S., and Asia and has quickly become one of the most valuable bartenders of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. He was named one of four Tastemakers of the brand, overseeing the cocktail program. Chabaane is dedicated to elevating the cocktail experience and surprising guests with unique creations to develop their palate. He recently created a cocktail menu presented as a taste wheel featuring the five basic flavors and unique ingredients. Everything on his menu is prepared by his team—homemade, seasonal, fresh, and creative.
Title: Lead Bartender, Bar Rouge
Property Location: Kimpton Rouge Hotel, Washington, D.C.
“Julia has been with Bar Rouge for less than two years, but has made the bar her home,” says Dragan Andrejic, GM at the hotel. “Within days of her arrival, she took on the complete overhaul of the menu and set out to make the bar a place not just hotel guests but locals want to be. Her touch is evident in all aspects of Bar Rouge, from the homegrown garnishes from her rooftop garden accompanying each drink to the carefully curated barware. Julia has developed a menu of classics, with nods to quintessential D.C. and delicious twists that keep guests coming back—such as the Saint Gin with Bombay Sapphire, lemon, St. Elder, brown sugar simple syrup, and soda.”
Title: Lead Bartender, Red Owl Tavern
Property Location: Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia
“Kyle is one of the city’s best bartenders,” says Rich Ruth, GM, Red Owl Tavern. “He pushes the boundaries in terms of creativity while keeping speed of service and consistency at his busy bar in mind. He is skilled technically, crafts a bevy of house-made ingredients, and is a master of presentation. Kyle has led his team to be one of the best bars in the city and takes pride in the level of hospitality provided at Red Owl Tavern. He has myriad cocktail competition wins under his belt, including First Place at Visit Philly’s XOXO Cocktail Competition.”
Andrea De Bari
Title: Lead Mixologist
Property Location: Hilton Buenos Aires, Argentina
She encourages her team to push the boundaries of creativity. Most recently, de Bari created the Gaucho Spritz, which fuses Argentine traditions. Using a yerba mate, she mixed lime, grapefruit juice, gin, and mint leaves to serve a taste of Argentine culture to the hotel’s guests. The drink is even served in an authentic mate gourd.
Title: Lead Bartender, Katharine Brasserie & Bar
Property Location: Kimpton Cardinal Hotel, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
“Levi has the local market knowledge and is respected in the community. He’s passionate about cocktail education and execution, has strong leadership skills, and has been a strong asset to building the bar program at The Katharine. He consistently puts forth a strong work ethic towards his team,” says Natalie Horne, GM, The Katharine.
Title: Premium Bartender, H Tasting Lounge
Property Location: Westin Bayshore, Vancouver, B.C.
With a degree in hospitality from Vancouver Community College, Fung is passionate about providing guests with unique and elevated dining experiences. Her mixology skills have been honed at Grain Tasting Lounge at the Hyatt Regency and Notch 8 at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver before beginning at the Westin Bayshore in 2016 at Seawall Bar & Grill, the hotel’s former restaurant and lounge. Fung’s favorite cocktail to concoct remains the classic Old Fashioned. Her aspiration is to start her own hostel and cocktail bar business in Nicaragua, where she can continue to provide exceptional experiences for locals and travelers alike; but for now, Fung can be found crafting curated cocktails at H Tasting Lounge. Her favorite spot to imbibe is the Dead Rabbit in New York City.
Title: Lead Bartender, Il Solito
Property Location: Kimpton Hotel Vintage Portland
“Bryan is the epitome of passion when it comes to his skill,” says Josh Porter, GM, Il Solito. “He has worked in Italian restaurants his entire career with Kimpton and always works to feed his thirst for knowledge and showcase his craft when it comes to Italian spirits, cocktails, and local Portland beers. He leads by example and works with the entire service staff to share that knowledge and love for Amari. He’s working towards the goal of Il Solito becoming the bar with the largest collection of Amari in the state. When it comes to creativity, Bryan doesn’t just focus on the recipe for each of his cocktails; he has made a point to research and tell a story with each cocktail through colloquial Italian phrases and historical references. Media take notice; his creative cocktails have been featured on Forbes.com, Men’s Journal, Liquor.com, Wine Enthusiast, and more. Bryan is a tremendous asset to our bar program, and we look forward to sharing many more toasts of his house-made limoncello.”
Title: Lead Bartender, Curadero Bar & Restaurant
Property Location: Kimpton Hotel Palomar San Diego
“Alex believes bartending shouldn’t be more complicated than serving solid drinks with impeccable hospitality,” says Theo Potgieter, GM, Curadero. “My core objective is hospitality,” Gregg says. “Everything tastes better when you’re having a good time.” Before landing at Curadero, he was named Houston’s “Best Bartender,” took home a “10 Best New Bars in Texas” award and was a member of the Cocktail Apprentice Program (CAP) at Tales of the Cocktail. Gregg’s cocktail approach blends seamlessly with Curadero: deceptively simple, full of flavor, with a touch of the unexpected. Gregg is also committed to bringing more sustainable bar initiatives to the industry, focusing on low-waste practices and conservation. “His laid-back demeanor and old-school approach make Curadero one of the friendliest and most forward-thinking bars around,” Potgieter says.
Title: Senior Bartender, American Bar
Property Location: The Savoy, London
Declan McGurk, manager of American Bar, says, “The reason why I love Pippa is that she is someone that has a unique skill of connecting with guests and making them remember their experience with her. Wherever I go, people always have something positive to say about her and share the experience they had. That’s exactly the kind of person we want representing the American Bar globally.”
Title: Bartender, JRDN Restaurant & Bar
Property Location: TOWER23 Hotel, San Diego
“When you are looking for a cold cocktail on a hot summer day, seeing Damien Kobler behind the bar at JRDN is going to put a smile on your face,” says Stacy Warner, director of sales and marketing for Eat.Drink.Sleep, parent company of TOWER23/JRDN. “With 20 years of bartending experience, Damien has a great palate and a solid understanding of what makes a drink pair well with food. JRDN is a unique venue because it is a beachfront restaurant in a sunny tourist locale, but the quality level is sky high. Finding team members who can maintain consistent quality in a high volume setting is key. Damien is very aware of the total guest experience, he’s always willing to think beyond the glass to make sure every aspect of a visit to JRDN is stellar.”
Title: Bar Supervisor/Lead Bartender, Square 1682 Bar & Restaurant
Property Location: Kimpton Hotel Palomar Philadelphia
“Daniel curates a progressive and creative cocktail menu, focusing on classics as well as innovative original creations, in addition to a great wine and beer program. He is also a level-one sommelier. He is a musician and performer and has been known to ‘sing and sling’ at various Square 1682 events,” says Seth Kligerman, GM, Square 1682.
Title: Mixologist, Galley Bar & Restaurant
Property Location: Hilton West Palm Beach, Florida
Lewinsohn is credited with crafting some of the restaurant’s most popular drinks including the Smoked Old Fashion, a tableside cocktail presented in an aromatic glass cloche, says John Parkinson, GM at the hotel. Lewinsohn’s specialties include mixing local ingredients for libations that reflect the area’s eclectic charm, such as the Galley Grind, an energizing shot of Bailey’s Irish Cream, Kahlua, Vanilla Vodka with a strong dose of Palm Beach-based Rabbit Coffee Roasting Cold Brew. Lewinsohn originally created the drink for industry insiders to keep up with the high-energy environment behind the bar, but it quickly gained recognition and landed its place amongst locals’ hearts as a special menu item.
Title: Lead Mixologist, Atlas Cocktail Lounge
Property Location: Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach
Olivo has prepared a globally inspired menu at Atlas Cocktail Lounge in the newly opened Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach. From creating his own bitters to mastering recipes that focus on organic ingredients, he has curated a one-of-a-kind cocktail menu by experimenting with different ingredients and taking risks with traditional recipes. For example, one of the newest drinks on the menu, Mamajuana Sip, was inspired by the traditional Dominican drink and requires at least two weeks of preparation, begin-ning with infusing the ingredients.
Title: Lead Mixologist
Property Location: Hilton São Paulo Morumbi, São Paulo, Brazil
With more than 25 years of experi-ence, Paixão has been serving guests at Hilton São Paulo Morumbi since the property’s opening 15 years ago. He has participated in several national contests including a competition hosted at three Hilton properties this year. He won the battle with Rosemary on Ice, featuring straw-berry liquor, an ice sphere infused with rosemary, and Chandon Passion.
Title: Lead Bartender, Finch & Fork
Property Location: Kimpton Canary Santa Barbara, California
“Since joining Finch & Fork, Piperis has been celebrated for creating whimsical cocktails that make guests smile,” says Sophia Fiedler, assistant GM, Finch & Fork. “His original creations won’t be found outside of his bar, and locally he’s known for creating the most mind-blowing cocktails around. Whether he is mixing unique herbs and spices usually found in savory entrées or garnishing his sippers with Barbie shoes, foam, or house-made candies, one thing is for sure: hotel guests can expect the unexpected from Piperis.”
Title: Beverage Manager
Property Location: Kimpton Everly Hotel, Los Angeles
“Dan often refers to the cocktails he’s created for Ever Bar and Jane Q as ‘weird,’ but what they really are is extremely smart and innovative,” says Charlotte O’Donahue, F&B GM, The Kimpton Everly Hotel. “Throughout his career with Kimpton, he’s continued to push the envelope with creative and complex—but fun—cocktails. He’s highly collaborative, working in tandem with chefs to come up with new ways of using culinary-driven ingredients, and lets his team shine, giving credit where credit is due. In the last year, he’s made his mark on the Hollywood cocktail scene with music-, movie-, and TV-themed drinks and is always thinking of new ways our beverage program can connect with our guests and locals.”
Title: Bar Lead, Henley
Property Location: Kimpton Aertson Hotel, Nashville
“Ben brings a high degree of skill and craftsmanship behind the marble at Henley,” says James Garrido, GM, Henley. “His passion for the hospitality industry shines each day as he guides Nashville locals and tourists alike through classic and craft cocktails. Ben won the People’s Choice award in the 2018 Woodford Reserve Master of the Manhattan competition. His strength for crafting classic cocktails is paralleled to his ability to create new ones with innovative and elevated techniques and ingredients.”
Title: Creative Beverage Director
Property Location: Fairmont Paciﬁ c Rim, Vancouver, B.C.
“Grant leads his team to think about new ideas and nothing is ever out of the question when it comes to his cocktail program development,” comments Liz Hovey-Smith, director of F&B. “Grant is always on top of trends and makes effort to understand what is happening in the cocktail community. Even on his recent honeymoon, he took the time to check out many world famous bars in Greece and other parts of Europe for inspiration.”
Title: Lead Bartender, Stratus Rooftop Lounge
Property Location: Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia
“Mirek’s background in chemistry, paired with his passion for the beverage industry, makes him a tremendous asset to our team and has helped turn Stratus into a craft cocktail destination,” says David Yike, GM, Stratus Rooftop Lounge. “He has been instrumental in shaping our cocktail program with fresh and innovative ideas, introducing a series of themed menus that are incredibly well thought-out from glassware to garnish. Mirek’s energy is infectious and he’s become a strong leader for our bar team.”
Title: Lead Bartender, Pegasus Bar
Property Location: Omni Dallas Hotel
“Megan strives for the Omni culture as well as ensuring all of her guests leave happy,” says Megan Heald, GM, Texas Spice Restaurant & Bar, and Pegasus Bar, Omni Dallas Hotel. “Megan’s specialty is making craft cocktails for her guests’ enjoyment. She opened the Omni Frisco Hotel, attached the Dallas Cowboys Star, as a bar supervisor. Megan came back to the Omni Dallas Hotel as the brand new Pegasus Bar re-opened, to come back home and do what she does best, creating memorable experiences and cocktails for her guests.”