Meet 10 Of S.F.'s Cutest Cocktail Masters, Right Here

[UPDATE: This story was originally published on May 17.]
Belly up to any S.F. bar and you'll likely meet a bartender who knows a thing or two about serving up a fine concoction. But, if you're searching for something a little more personal from your watering hole — like a flirtatious chat with a shot of man candy or a dash of bombshell babe — look no further!
We've hit up our city's best, boozy hot spots to bring you the most crush-worthy bar masters in the Bay. They've divulged details on their single status, secret drink recipes, favorite S.F. hangouts, and even some hilarious bar confessionals. So, don't be shy: Sit back, grab a cold one, and take a peek. Word of caution: You've been served.
Advertisement

Want even more R29? Get the latest news, tips, and can't-resist stories delivered straight to your newsfeed, in real time. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!
1 of 18
Name: Chadwick Price
Bar: Latin American Club
Hood: Deep Mission

Is bartending your destiny or is there something else you're working on too?
"I'm interested in all facets of art and design. I'm currently on a path towards an industrial design degree."

How did you start and long have you been doing it?
"I'm an excessive European vacationer-turned-broke expatriate bartender. Let's just say my wrinkles have wrinkles."

What's your signature drink and how do you make it?
"Latin America goers love their margaritas, but I'm a sucker for a good Bloody Mary. Throw the kitchen sink into it — the more ingredients and garnishes, the better."

2 of 18
Is there one drink that is most popular in S.F.?
"The Fireball."

Have any crazy, behind-the-bar stories you can divulge?
"My very first shift ever I had a guy come out of the bathroom, full sprint, wearing nothing but socks and tennis shoes. He proceeded to run a few laps, and then shot out the door. He must have lost a bet."

Are you single? If so, how would a guy/girl get your attention when you're working?
"My dance card is full."

What's the most embarrassing thing someone's done to try to pick up on you while you're working?
"I had a patron serenade me with Prince's song Beautiful One at Karaoke Night, complete with a little song and dance number."

How would you describe your style?
"Vintage, blue-collar Joe that cleans up on occasion."

Where do you shop for clothes?
"Vacation, After Life, Painted Bird, and any second-hand store I come across."
Advertisement
3 of 18
Name: Rebekka Fenn
Bar: Bar Tartine
Hood: Potrero Hill/Mission

Is bartending your destiny or is there something else you're working on too?
"I'm always working on several things. I am in school studying social justice, I play music, I belly dance, and even assist on video and film creative projects."

Is there one drink that is most popular in S.F.?
"I had never tasted Fernet until I was pouring them all night long at my first bar gig in S.F. I thought it was disgusting, but now I can be guilty of indulging."

What drink is your least favorite to make?
"Any drink with a ridiculous name that I don't know how to make."

What's your favorite part about being a bartender?
"I love connecting with and meeting new people. Figuring out what they fancy is always fun as well."

Least favorite?
"Being roped into conversations about my tattoos or personal life when I don't want to talk about it."

4 of 18
What are some of your favorite bars to throw 'em back in?
"In my hood I like Dalva, The Knockout Room, and Royal Cuckoo. All around, I enjoy bars with themes, live music, or a good jukebox."

Are you single? If so, how would a guy/girl get your attention when you're working?
"I'm not married, but I'm also not single. I would say that any guy or girl should steer away from asking someone out while they are working."

How would you describe your style?
"I love to be glamorous in vintage from the '40s and '50s, but I also love my biker boots and black denim."

Where do you shop for clothes?
Relic Vintage on Haight Street — Oran is the best!"

What do you love about San Francisco?
"San Francisco is a beautiful city. I love its access to nature, vintage fashion, amazing food, and communities of cultural diversity."
5 of 18
Names: Caitlin Laman (left) and Melissa Boyd (right)
Bars: Trick Dog and Beretta
Hoods: Mission

Is bartending your destiny or is there something else you're working on, too?
Melissa: "Life is all about balance. I currently bartend, teach fitness classes, and offer personal training. I'm hard at work on a fitness and lifestyle blog, Cocktails and Crunches, and will hopefully open a fitness studio in the coming year."
Caitlin: "I would like to make vermouth when I am 70, and possibly have a bed-and-breakfast at some point. Until then, yes, absolutely."

What's your signature drink and how do you make it?
Melissa: "There are too many to list! The last cocktail I created was called 'Death Proof' — it went live on Beretta's spring menu last week. It's a mixture of 1.5 oz Green Chartreuse, .5 oz Beefeater Gin, .75 oz fresh squeezed lime juice, and .75 oz root beer reduction. Build in a tin, shake briefly with big ice, double strain into bucket glass, and top with crushed ice and a sprig of mint for garnish."

Is there one drink that is most popular in SF?
Caitlin: "Probably the Negroni."
Melissa: "Other than Fernet-Branca? It definitely goes in waves. You can tell when an article has been written recently about a classic when its sales suddenly jump. I'd say for the most part, San Francisco drinkers are pretty knowledgeable about spirits and tend to order more spirit-driven cocktails like Old Fashioneds, Manhattans, and Negronis."

What's your favorite part about being a bartender?
Melissa: "The regulars. I've met some of my favorite people in the world working behind the bar."
Caitlin "The unique view of society we have. And, being behind the bar with my best friend Chad Arnholt!"

6 of 18
Least favorite?
Melissa: "Late nights and wet feet."
Caitlin:"I used to have cute feet — I don't anymore."

Are you single? If so, how would a guy/girl get your attention when you're working?
Melissa: "Nope, it's a wild world out there for you single ladies."
Caitlin: "Yes, I am single. I like long hair."

If you had to have an album or song on repeat during your shift, what would it be?
Melissa: "Jefferson Airplane or The Doors radio on Spotify usually makes me a pretty happy girl."

How would you describe your style?
Melissa: "It's hard to dress cute behind the bar without ruining your clothes. I generally dress pretty casual for day to day — always have to layer in S.F. Currently, I'm into pairing neutrals with neons or crazy prints."

What do you love about San Francisco?
Melissa: "I fall in love with San Francisco everyday. Every time I take the pup up to Bernal Heights, I'm taken aback by how beautiful our city is. Also, the Giants."

What are some of your favorite bars to throw 'em back in?
Caitlin: "The 500 Club, Pittsburgh's Pub, and The Connecticut Yankee. Anywhere I can watch baseball or hockey."
7 of 18
Name: Oliver Piazza
Bar: Dear Mom
Hood: Noe Valley

Is bartending your destiny or is there something else you're working on too?
"Bar tending is my destiny right now. Big picture though, this is one stop among many in my life."

How did you start and long have you been doing it?
"I've been in the restaurant/bar business for 15 years. I started tending bar because I never shut up and I drink too much, I figured I may as well get paid for it."

What's your signature drink and how do you make it?
"Does a beer and a shot count? I've been tinkering with a drink I call Park Slope; it's basically a gin-based, perfect Manhattan. It's 2 oz gin (I like Botanivore by St. George), .5 oz sweet vermouth, .5 oz dry vermouth, 1 dash Pachaud bitters, 2 dashes angostura orange bitters, and 1 orange twist to garnish."


Is there one drink that is most popular in S.F.?
"Fernet-Branca hands down. I grew up watching my pop sip this digestive after dinner. Why people love shooting it here and only here, I will never know. But, I support it."

What is your least favorite part about being a bartender?
"Ruining my manicure with these darn dishpan hands."

Advertisement
8 of 18
What are some of your favorite bars to throw 'em back in?
Thieves Tavern, Lone Palm, Lexington Club, Buena Vista, and Clooney's."

Are you single? If so, how would a guy/girl get your attention when you're working?
"I am seeing someone. If I weren't, I'd say the best way to get my attention while I'm behind the bar would be to be radical — maybe awesome, too."

What's the most embarrassing thing someone's done to try to pick up on you while you're working?
"I would say the time when the drunk girl with a foot cast tried to climb on the bar and dance. In the process, she kicked off my entire set up and also kicked the patron sitting beside her — in the face. That said, we went out the next day and she was very nice."

How would you describe your style?
"I try to make the clothes I pull off of my floor in the morning look good."

Where do you shop locally for clothes?

"Thrift stores, Revolver, Levi's, and Taylor Stitch."
9 of 18
Name: Rachel Hinojosa
Bar: El Amigo
Hood: Mission

Is bartending your destiny or is there something else you’re working on too?
"Bartending started as an easy way to support myself in college and as I was older, to make some fun money on the side. But, now I use it a means to support myself as an artist. It's a great job and I love doing it, but I hope to be supporting myself through my art in the future."

What is your signature drink and how do you make it?
"My signature drink is called a Shady Lady, a bright and refreshing cava-based cocktail. It's a shot of blanco tequila chilled with a bit of Cointreau, topped off with cava, and served up with an orange peel zest. It's simple and fresh, so it goes down smooth but will definitely have you feeling it after just one."

What's your favorite part about being a bartender?
"I like being a bartender because you get to meet so many interesting people that live nearby and from afar. I've gotten to know so many artists, musicians, and local business owners in my area. It's nice to know who makes up your community. Plus, it's endlessly fun and entertaining, like hosting a one very long cocktail party."

Have any crazy behind the bar stories you can divulge?
"Nothing super crazy has gone down at El Amigo but, when the DJs are killing it, patrons have been know to dance on the tables and booths, which I always love. Especially since the bar doesn't seem like a place people would really dance around in."

10 of 18
Where would we find you when you're off the clock?
"When I'm not bartending, I'm usually in my studio working, doing interior design projects for friends, walking my dog Lilly around the hill, or out dancing with my friends. I love to go adventuring in the natural areas surrounding S.F. and camping, hiking, and taking road trips up and down the coast."

Are you single? If so, how would a guy/girl get your attention when you're working?
"I am single. Guys catch my attention from behind the bar when they have good style, are confident, charismatic, and are having fun with their friends. I like when they are not obviously hitting on me with pickup lines or compliments based on how I look. Being subtle goes a long way."

If you had to have an album or song on repeat during your shift, what would it be?
"I always love to rock the Roy Orbison Pandora station during the dinner crowd before my DJs come on. They lump together a lot of similar artists with smooth, velvety voices — but Roy's is the best. When I'm setting up, I like to blast Blood Orange albums. But, my all-time favorite closing jam is Night Call by Kavinsky from the Drive soundtrack. I could listen and dance to that, over and over."
11 of 18
Name: Colin O'Malley
Bar: John Colins and Southside Spirithouse
Hood: Midtown Terrace

Is bartending your destiny or is there something else you're working on too?
"I'll always bartend at least one shift, I'm sure. But, now that I'm older I'm more interested in owning and operating bars."

How did you start and long have you been doing it?
"I was practically born in a bar. My older brother and I would play pinball and shuffleboard while my mom bartended. I started bar-backing behind the bar when I was 17. And, I actually lied on my resume when I was 20 so I could start bartending early...at Red Lobster!"

What's your signature drink?
"My signature drink is a bottle of Bud and shot of Jameson. Easy-peasy."

Is there one drink that is most popular in SF?
"I feel like whiskey in general is in right now. People are ordering a lot of Manhattans, Old Fashioneds, and high-end whiskeys on the rocks."

12 of 18
What's your least favorite part about being a bartender?
"Snooty customers and busters!"

What's the most embarrassing thing someone's done to try to pick up on you while you're working?
"It's funny when a girl goes way out of her way to make sure you know she's not with the guy next to her. Last week, this lady kept calling the guy next to her her co-worker. She could of at least called him her friend! It was kinda funny, but maybe you had to be there."

If you had to have an album or song on repeat during your shift, what would it be?
"I could listen to Santogold's last album all day. I'd have to mix it up as my musical playlist is all over the map. I like old-school hip hop, rock, folk. Wow, I just said 'old-school hip hop'! I must be getting old."

What do you love about San Francisco?
"S.F. is my home! I was born here and spent the majority of my life here. I love it all — the dirt, the noise, the smell, the people. I think I mostly love the fact that amongst all this, you can find these amazing little pockets of peace and sunshine all throughout the city. It's frickin' awesome!"
Advertisement
13 of 18
Name: Patrick Johnson
Bar: Churchill
Hood: Alamo Square

Is bartending your destiny or is there something else you're working on too?
"I would say that the bar is my destiny; I don't think I'll ever stop making drinks. With that said, I would like to be owning and running my own place(s) down the line."

How did you start and how long have you been doing it?
"I was bar-backing down in Santa Cruz, and one of our bartenders lit the bar on fire with 151. His loss was my in."

What's your signature drink and how do you make it?
"My 'signature' drink changes depending on what the customer wants. Right now, I've been into a drink called, 'Dia De Los Muertos.' It's equal parts blended Scotch, Cocchi Americano, Solerno, lemon juice, a dash of Angostura, and a dash of Yellow Chartreuse."

Is there one drink that is most popular in S.F.?
"I feel like ginger beer is so hot right now, that you could piss in a glass of ice, top it with ginger beer and sell it for $10."

14 of 18
What's your favorite part about being a bartender?
"Interacting and meeting new people. It's like being on stage. It really meshes well with my A.D.D.; I can have four different conversations going on at the same time and have my personal space with three feet of bar between me and you."

Have any crazy behind the bar stories you can divulge?
"I don't know what you've heard about me! I'm a saint."

Are you single? If so, how would a guy/girl get your attention when you're working?
"I am single. I would like to say sense of humor should get my attention, but I'm going have to go with breast size. I'm kidding! Seriously though, just don't be too wasted, it's such a turn-off."

What's the most embarrassing thing someone's done to try to pick up on you while you're working?
"Someone actually left her panties for me with her number written on the tag. Sorry, I never called."

How would you describe your style?
"Back to the future, mixed with a little bit of country and a little bit punk."
15 of 18
Name: Katy McNatt
Bar: Gestalt
Hood: Noe Valley

Is bartending your destiny or is there something else you’re working on too?
"I waited tables and tended bar while I was in college, but once I graduated I realized there wasn't much else I would rather be doing. I was increasingly interested in local and craft beer; I liked the hours, the flexible schedule, the people, and the fast pace. Serving people alcohol has somehow become the most real thing in the world to me. My husband and I are planning to open our own bar in the next year or so."

Is there one drink that's most popular in SF?
"Anyone who is new to craft beer — which is still quite a few people - loves to say, 'I'll have an IPA!' They don't yet know that IPA is a style not exclusive to Lagunitas' flagship beer, but props to them for breaking out of the Corona/Newcastle/Bud Light rut."

What's your favorite part about being a bartender?
"I've established some really genuine and gratifying friendships with both co-workers and regulars over the years. The unlimited access to good beer isn't too shabby, either."

16 of 18
Least favorite?
"Oh man, puke! Close seconds are pervs and cheapskates."

What are some of your favorite bars to throw ‘em back in?
"Beer Rev and The Trappist in Oakland; Zeitgeist, and Dear Mom when I'm in a big group; The Peaks and Valley Tavern when I want to stick close to home."

What's the most embarrassing thing someone's done to try to pick up on you while you're working?
"Someone once left me a large tip with a note that said, 'Now that I've paid your PG&E bill, maybe you'll go out with me.' The implication that I needed help with my bills and that my resulting gratitude should warrant a date was pretty lame."

What do you love about San Francisco?
"Unless you're a millionaire, you can't just come here and relax; you're forced to work hard, be driven, and do everything in your power to find your niche. Moving here and finding a job, finding an apartment, and making this city work for you teaches you a lot about yourself. And, the rewards for that kind of work — the entertainment, bars, art, music, activities, and amazing views — are second to none."
17 of 18
Name: Matt Grippo
Bar: Blackbird
Hood: North Beach

Is bartending your destiny or is there something else you're working on too?
"It's a fairly recent addition to the many occupations I've held over the years. That being said, I'm focusing all of my attention on being an accomplished bartender in San Francisco. There are some natural progressions that come with the job that I'm open to taking on when the time is right."

What's your signature drink and how do you make it?
"I don't really have a signature drink. We change our menu here every four months, so I constantly have a changing lineup of things I'm working on. If I did have one, it would be rum-based, for sure. I think it's an under-appreciated spirit and I love turning people on to it."

Is there one drink that is most popular in SF?
"I think the drinking scene is broken into two parties: Industry people, and people who frequent bars that are not in the industry. The latter enjoys all things craft and complicated; the former enjoys a beer and a shot. I'm happy to make you whatever you want, as long as you're nice."

What drink is your least favorite to make?
"Long Island Iced Tea."

What's your favorite part about being a bartender?
"The flexibility. If you work somewhere and you and your staff care about each other, there is a huge amount of freedom. Taking time off to travel is important to me and working in a bar has been very good for that."

18 of 18
What are some of your favorite bars to throw 'em back in?
15 Romolo in North Beach is down the street from me, and has badass drinks and great, late-night snacks. I really liked Rio Grande (R.I.P.) the Hideout at Dalva is a favorite of mine. It's a full-time job hitting all the bars I like in this town. We are spoiled!

What's the most embarrassing thing someone's done to try to pick up on you while you're working?
"Oh boy. Nothing too outrageous. I'm a tough one at work, so it's pretty standard to throw the phone number down and run out the door. It always cracks me up when I get asked, 'Do you like boys or girls?' I once had someone bring me in a tin of fresh-baked cookies."

If you had to have an album or song on repeat during your shift, what would it be?
"This is tough. It depends on the night and the shift. Friday and Saturday nights, you need the music to be perfect. A good mix is priceless. Come in on a Monday night and the vibe is very different. My iPod has an identity crisis."

How would you describe your style?
"Degenerate. The weather here has made my style go on permanent vacation. I live in jeans and a T-shirt and have a thing for rare, obnoxious sneakers. That said, I love having a reason to get cleaned up."
Advertisement

More from San Francisco

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Documentary
Five love stories behind diverse, multicultural marriages.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Life experiments, 5 days at a time.
Watch Now
Fashion
The style of subculture.
Watch Now
Beauty
Viral trends, tried and tested.
Watch Now
Documentary
From vibrators to lipstick, learn how your favorite products are made.
Watch Now
Documentary
Extraordinary, one-of-a-kind individuals
Watch Now
Documentary
The latest stories to watch.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Inside the homes of millennial women — & what they paid for them
Watch Now
Comedy
Let's talk about sex, baby.
Watch Now
Documentary
Female artisans around the world
Watch Now
Politics
Made by and for smart, opinionated women.
Watch Now
Film
We helped 12 female directors claim their power.