Off Duty Drinking: Los Angeles Bartenders

Bartender Los Angeles

Buy this man some mezcal if you see him away from Hemingway's.

I recently asked nine of L.A.’s top bartenders one simple question: “Where and what do you like to drink when you’re not at work?” Their responses may surprise you.

Matt Biancaniello (Hollywood Roosevelt Library Bar)

I am an amaro drinker. Cynar, campari, on the rocks, at home. Or any cocktail by Zahra at Providence. She is a real true artist.

Joseph Brooke (The Edison)

I love Jones with every cubic centimeter of my heart. Budweiser and a shot of well tequila. Loud, abrasive rock & roll, and nobody bothers me. Absolute heaven.

Pablo Moix (La Descarga)

Wine @ Terroni
Bartenders choice @ Tasting Kitchen
Shot of tequila & a Tecate beer @ Prime Time Pub
Mezcal @ Guelaguetza
Other places I like a lot: Mozza, Lobby @ W Hotel (Hollywood), patio @ A-Frame, White Horse, HMS Bounty, OB Bear, Bohemian lounge & Bobby London’s.

Naomi Schimek (First & Hope)

I like drinking wine in the garden at home. I like drinking beer in the gay bars in Silver Lake and watching them sing showtunes. I like that. I drink a lot of beer in bars. I like going down to Rivera and having those cocktails. Those are some of my favorites in town.

Juan Sevilla (Big Bar)

I split up my drinking between home and bars around town.

If I get off early from work I tend to pull over on my way home for a drink. I sometimes like to visit my old friends at the Smog Cutter. I used to live up the street and the place was like a second home. I usually have a classic Budweiser. The bartender tends to be the drunkest girl in the room and it’s great times all around.

Bars…I’ve been going to 1886 for a drink every now and again since it’s close to home and cocktails are great. I think the last time I was there I had a stirred Mezcal cocktail, but I don’t remember what it was called. It was very good.

Every so often I crave something in particular. Last week I got a sudden craving for a Barbacoa as I was passing downtown on my drive home so I stopped into Rivera to have one. Very tasty.

Also, Little Dom’s up the street from Big Bar has a great vibe on Monday night. The last time I was there I had a bottle of wine with dinner (not by myself).

At home I usually drink room temperature spirits with bitters. Party because I’m too lazy and tired to prepare a cocktail, but mainly because I’m only at home long enough to have a drink and go to bed. Also, I usually don’t even have ice there. I don’t spend very much time at home these days. I do have a decent supply of booze though.

Alex Straus (Hemingway’s)

I drink mezcal if they have it. It’s rare enough. Beers and tequila have been my thing lately. Any good tequila I can get at a bar, and usually good beer. That’s it. I’m a beer and shot kind of guy, like most cocktail guys are. You drink so many cocktails. You taste so many cocktails with these events, with work. By the end, you just want something simple.

Marcos Tello (Tello/Demarest Liquid Assets)

Not at work is a far cry for me because most of the time it’s normally at some sort of networking event. If it’s not a cocktail bar I’m drinking at, I’m at The Village Idiot, and I’m ordering Guinness. For me they still have the best pint of Guinness in the city.

Zahra Bates (Providence)

I rarely go out for a drink. If I do it is more to see a friend at his or her bar because that is the only time we have to catch up. I drink whatever they want me to have because I trust them implicitly.

I am so very lucky to work amongst some of the best bartenders in the country and when I do get to see them in their element it is inspirational and invigorating. However it is also work, being out is work. My mind is always working when I am out, always seeing how I can apply this or that to my program or how I can adapt something to my style, how I can give something to my guests and friends that I may be missing or lacking at the moment.

When I do drink it is usually at home or at some hole in the wall and always some version of a boiler maker. Whisky and a beer, tequila and a beer, aged rum and a beer…you get the idea…some spirit and a beer. It is kind of like a chef cooking at home, they usually don’t want to because they just spent 10 hours cooking.

Kylee Van Dillen (Westside Tavern)

I like to drink scotch! Bars are like bookstores to me–I have my favorite but as long as the shelves are lined with what I like to read/drink, its all the same to me 🙂

This is the first in a series of “Off Duty Drinking” posts with bartenders and chefs.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

nice post. Seem most like drinking at home


It makes sense that bartenders would enjoy drinking at home considering they’re on their feet all day/night.

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