For this week’s nightcap interview we caught up with Russell Dillon, the main man behind the bar at ba’sik in Brooklyn, New York. “Back to the basics” is the inspiration behind ba’sik (pronounced basic), a Williamsburg bar that marks the return of the drinking establishment as a “public house.” Between the flowing drinks we caught up with Russell, the poet/bartender who helped turn ba’sik into an industry favorite. Sit back and grab a “Damn, Dominic!” – we did – as we chat with “the kindest man in the world.”
Chef Andrew Greene originally hails from Southern California, but has called San Francisco his home for the past twelve years since moving to attend the San Francisco Art Institute for a degree in the Study of Paint Manipulation. His love for art quickly transitioned from the canvas to the plate, and he strives to cultivate and encourage mind expansion through each of his passions. Andrew was previously Executive Chef at Social Kitchen and Brewery, where his mission was to match Michelin-caliber food with a locally brewed craft beer program. He’s currently the Executive Chef at Duchess in Oakland, California.
Portland and London have a lot in common: rain, beer, rain, pubs, rain, and strip clubs. To be honest, that last one might just be Portland, but there’s definitely the rain thing. One recent rainy afternoon we stopped into Raven & Rose for a pint and met Natasha Mesa, self-described “master of current trends, barkeep with flair, expert in conflict resolution, creator of peace, connoisseur of life, professional leg wrestler, drink slinger, and conversationalist,” and, according to Thrillist, one of Portland’s Most Influential & Kick-Ass Bartenders of 2016. Pull up a stool and join us.
We recently mixed it up with Lucinda Sterling, Managing Partner and famed mixologist of Middle Branch in New York. This Colorado native landed in New York in late 2005 and quickly became a bartender at what was then Sasha Petraske’s newest bar, Little Branch. By 2012, her amazing mixology skills led to a full partnership. The industry now considers Lucinda a leader in the mixology movement, with articles in Thrillist, Time Out Magazine, Liquor.com and other well known publications.
For this week’s nightcap, we stopped by The Rockefeller, a local hot-spot in Hermosa Beach, CA, known for pairing great grub with their impressive beer selection (24 taps!) and a happy hour that’ll leave you with money to blow. Grab a seat for their bottomless mimosa brunch, and bring your board for a post-interview ride as we chat with the Director of Operations, Chris Bredesen.
Whether you think Cinco de Mayo is Mexican Independence Day (it’s not), or the commemoration of Mexico’s victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla (it is), or just a day to listen to mariachi bands and drink margaritas (also acceptable), we have good news for you: NightOwl can help you find the best margarita in town! While you and your amigos debate whether Cointreau or Triple Sec is proper, or whether to salt the rim, or what the time and place is for a frozen margarita (hint: never and nowhere), one thing we know for certain is that the margarita sits at the delicious nexus of sour, sweet, salty, and bitter; it’s like a fiesta in your mouth. Enjoy with a side of guac and pray that there will be a hole in The Wall for shipments of tequila. Click here to find the best margarita near you, wherever your night takes you. Salud!
We caught up with Ryan Te, the head bartender at Oiji in Manhattan’s East Village, for this week’s Nightcap. Oiji created a new category for Korean cuisine (all meant for sampling and sharing) in New York City by exploring traditional flavors and dishes while utilizing modern cooking techniques and ingredients. Helmed by chefs Brian Kim and Tae Kyung Ku, who trained at Gramercy Tavern and Bouley, respectively, Oiji came on the scene in 2015 winning accolades from the NY Times, The New Yorker, and Eater to name a few. Cocktails play an important role in the success at Oiji, and Ryan’s here to share why.
The journey to gin, and the craft of distilling, began in 2013 for the gentlemen of Four Pillars. They embarked on a tour of the US West Coast, from Portland down to San Francisco, identifying distilling techniques and equipment they admired. They thought if they could elevate this area of expertise in Australia, and bring a modern Australian sensibility to the process, then maybe they could make a gin worth shouting about. 18 months after they returned home, they took delivery of their own custom-built still, and named her Wilma (after founder Cameron’s beautiful, but explosively tempered late mother). Wilma has been delivering since day one as they’ve been awarded a Double Gold, Gold, or Master status for all their mainstay gins in the past two years. This week we caught up with Jacob Michael Ryan, Four Pillars’ double-threat brand ambassador in New York.
NightOwl recently had a visit with Karie Engels, an avid lover of food, wine, and beer, contributor to Connoisseur Magazine, and founder of her online culinary beverage magazine, “Your Home With Karie Engels.” Karie lives in Seattle and is all about great, healthy recipes matched with wine, beer, and spirits for the ultimate meal. When not writing, Karie can be found on her road tour, tasting foods and sipping fine wines and great brews, while showcasing amazing chefs in her “Visiting Chefs” dinner series and pairing their creations with ambrosial libations.
For this week’s Nightcap exclusive we’re hanging out with Stacey Swenson, the bartender at Dante in New York’s Greenwich Village, recently ranked #34 best bar in the world by Drinks International Magazine. The original Dante opened its doors on Macdougal Street in 1915. For over 100 years, neighbors and celebrities alike have frequented this cafe for a piece of Italy. The pictures that line the walls are not only of the original owners, but also highlight the wonderful cast of characters that have passed through these doors: from artists and writers, like Anais Nin and Ernest Hemingway of the Bohemian age, to Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith, Bob Dylan, and Al Pacino, Dante is a place that people have always flocked to.