ROUND ONE of the 6th Annual Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition is ON!
We had 18 great valley bartenders apply for the opportunity to compete this year, and we need your help narrowing that list down to nine! For the next two weeks, you may vote for your favorites once per day, each day via our online voting app, here. With your help, we will announce our final lineup on 2/1.
The chosen finalists will go head to head on March 1st at Crescent Ballroom. For more info and tickets to the mix-off, please visit devouredphoenix.com. Now without further ado…
Introducing YOUR Devour Phoenix 2015 Bartending Competition Starting Lineup:
Brittany Evans @ The Vig
Brittany is a mixology and craft inspired bartender who just moved to Phoenix area from Dallas, TX. She is ready to learn more about the craft and further her career. Brittany aspires to open her own bar and garden to make drinks with as many natural ingredients as possible. She’s very passionate about what she does and enjoys being the person that people go to when they want a good time or just someone to talk to.
Let’s just go to the Vig…that’s what people in the Valley have been saying for years, when they are looking for a fun, friendly, upscale neighborhood tavern that appeals to any and all. Some love them for their terrific patio. Others for their unique but affordable menu items. Still others show up for their mix of live music and djs. And of course there are those who just want to enjoy a cool beverage and a friendly game of bocce ball. No matter the reason…let’s just go to The Vig.
Find The Vig on Facebook.
Brian Goodwin @ The Gladly
Brian brings a unique work ethic to the bar from his past days as a cook. He is very involved in the preparation of fresh ingredients, components, shrubs, and bitters. Brian has been featured in multiple publications including Phoenix Magazine and The Tasting Panel. He is currently leading the charge for brown spirits in the Phoenix cocktail scene.
Named one of Phoenix’s best new restaurants, The Gladly is the follow up concept by the owners of critically acclaimed Citizen Public House. The Stylish bar boasts a world-class beverage program and over 200 whiskies to go along with Chef Bernie Kantak’s well-traveled comfort food.
Tawni Koons @ Maizie’s Cafe and Bistro
Tawni Koons has been with Maizie’s for almost three years and now serves as the bar manger. She has enjoyed being in the food and beverage industry for over 10 years. She has recently put together an eclectic wine program featuring wines from all over the world that are approachable for all palates. She is passionate about bar service and makes one fabulous margarita!
Maizie’s Cafe and Bistro is a local, family owned restaurant and bar operating since 2008. The storefront is located in the heart of Central Phoenix, serving comfort food with modern flare.
Find Maizie’s Cafe and Bistro on Facebook & Instagram.
Brandon Casey @ Citizen Public House
One minute he’s identifying mummified remains, the next he’s mixing up a killer cocktail. Welcome to the dynamic life of Brandon Casey: a classically trained anthropologist and renowned mixologist. Most recently Brandon was selected as one of the nation’s top mixologists by The Smithsonian National Museum of American History to create a cocktail inspired by our country’s spirited past in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner.
Citizen Public House is a contemporary, upscale version of the traditional public house nestled in Old Town Scottsdale serving craft beers, classic and contemporary cocktails, and award-winning gastropub cuisine to a clientele hungry for exceptional food, provocative drink and new-fashioned fun.
Colton Brock @ Barrio Urbano
Colton Brock is a third generation Phoenix native, who was raised drinking tequila with his mother from the age of three. The smells, colors and flavors of the Sonoran Desert largely influence the style and composition of Brock’s creations. While invention and experimentation are celebrated within the recipes at Barrio Urbano, history and tradition play key roles in his creative process.
Award winning Chef Silvana Esparza’s newest take on southern Mexican cuisine in Uptown Phoenix, Barrio Urbano, like Chef Esparza’s original establishment, places a large focus on agave-based, distilled spirits and other products from Mexico. Unlike previous concepts, this one is looking more and more towards Arizona Distilled spirits, as well as Arizona beers and wines. Barrio Urbano drinks largely play off the ingredients in Chef Silvana’s kitchen, as well as local and seasonal ingredients.
Alexandra McMillan @ The Clever Koi
Alexandra McMillan is the head bartender and manager under owner Joshua James. Over the past year, she has overseen a beverage program that has received many accolades, including Best New School Cocktails and Best Cocktail in Phoenix, as well as national recognition in publications such as Wall Street Journal and Market Watch. Although women remain disproportionately few in bartender ranks, Alexandra is one of the female mixologists transforming the scene.
The Clever Koi is a modern American approach to Asian food and drink. The bar focuses on elevated classics and progressive mixology, creating a wide range of flavors that compliment an ever changing menu.
Andrew Gilchrist @ Hula’s Modern Tiki
Tiki Drew, half-bartender, half-pirate, has been sailing to Hula’s Modern Tiki in Uptown Phoenix for years to whip up his signature tiki and island inspired cocktails. Witty and always quick with a joke, no patron escapes his bar without a big smile on their face. He treats everyone like family and makes you think for a while that the ocean is right outside the door.
Hula’s Modern Tiki is a modern, urban twist on the classic tiki restaurants and bars of the 1950s and 1960s. Hula’s is a modern twist on the American Classic. Sit on the patio, enjoy their signature cocktails. See and be seen. Their Uptown Phoenix location is on the light rail and you’ll be surrounded by hipsters, oldsters, youngsters and everyone in between and beyond.
Titus Fauntleroy @ St. Francis
Raised in the heart of Phoenix, Titus is constantly inspired by the art, culinary and music scenes. Titus would be best described as a person who loves to take on new obstacles. He likes to do things with his own unique hint of style.
St. Francis is an experience that takes great pride in infusing itself within its neighborhood culture. They are a seasonal American restaurant that showcases local ingredients and their one of a kind wood-fired oven. With their relaxed but refined environment, St. Francis is a great urban gathering spot for the community to enjoy great food and drinks.
Kelly Ann Carr @ The Vig Fillmore
A vivacious, passionate bartender who is a Phoenix native, Kelly Ann is a veteran in the hospitality scene who has made her mark at Magnums Cigar Bar, The Beverly and The Vig Fillmore. Her vast knowledge of classic cocktails and quick wit enable her to keep her guests entertained and always coming back for more.
The Vig Fillmore is your downtown destination for craft cocktails, great food and an unrivaled neighborhood patio. Nestled in the historic district, The Vig Fillmore is located in “The Cavness Home”, a 100 year old home recognized by the Phoenix Historic Society.
Bryan Burton @ The Breadfruit & Rum Bar
Growing up in Arizona, Bryan started working in the service industry when he was 15 at a local breakfast cafe. In 2010, he began bartending full time at a fine dining Italian restaurant in North Scottsdale which focused on martinis and classic cocktails. Since the summer of 2014, Bryan has been immersed in the enchanting world of rum where he has been focused on perfecting the art of true craft cocktails. This bartender’s passion is driven and influenced by the immense creativity and innovation at The Breadfruit and Rum Bar.
The Breadfruit offers the highest integrity in gastronomy with a perfectionist approach to crafting delicious treats. Rum Bar at The Breadfruit showcases cocktails with a unique blend of signature originals and the re-introduction of well-known classics such as the Hemingway, Daiquiri and Mojito. The Breadfruit will rekindle your love affairs with rum cocktails…
Libby Longlott @ The Parlor
Originally from Pennsylvania, Libby’s bartending career began at a popular college nightclub. Seven years later, she is now a contributor to The Parlor’s outstanding cocktail program, working closely under the wing of last year’s Devoured Cocktail Competition winner, Michael Allmandinger. When she’s not behind the bar, Libby enjoys utilizing her background in fashion and design by styling photo shoots, working on her upcoming fashion and lifestyle blog, and arranging fresh floral designs for a renowned local florist.
The Parlor, a modern industrial restaurant which sprouted from the bones of a 1950’s beauty salon, focuses on delivering the freshest Italian cuisine with organic ingredients from the garden to the table. With award-winning pizza, handmade pastas, salads, and sandwiches, accompanied by craft beers, cocktails, and an extensive wine list, The Parlor prides itself on delivering only the best to their customers.
James Anderson @ Joyride Taco House
A veteran member of Upward Projects, James spent time behind the bars of Windsor and Federal Pizza, before settling into an influential role at Joyride Taco House. His energy and focus behind the oak is matched by his love of big mountain snowboarding, skateboarding, and urban photography.
From the minds that created Postino, and located just next door, Joyride serves up modern Mexican in a lively indoor/outdoor space with a laid-back vibe. The menu features more than nine varieties of tacos served family style on made-to-order tortillas, as well as flavorful salads, burritos, and “especiales” – all complemented with a robust menu of margaritas, regional craft brews, vinos, tequila and an inventive list of agua frescas made fresh daily with love.
Shawn Gabor @ Pink Pony
Moving to Phoenix from Chicago, Shawn Gabor is the Pink Pony’s resident Barchitect. Shawn began his bartending career in Scottsdale at Cowboy Ciao. He is also a proud husband and father. Shawn specializes in crafting seasonal-based cocktails and artisan tap handles.
The new Pink Pony combines fresh, locally-sourced ingredients with a comfortable, stunning ambiance. The Pony is a legendary fixture in the Scottsdale dining scene, and Executive Chef, Stephen K. Eldridge, has created a menu that captures the history of the Pink Pony while providing contemporary comfort cuisine.
Lyndsi Hastings-Mundy @ Culinary Dropout @ the Yard
Lyndsi really immersed herself in mixology when she opened Culinary Dropout @ The Yard in 2013. Since then, she has become a Principle Bartender, the creator a cocktail that is now part of the menu at all four Culinary Dropout locations, a member of the Phoenix chapter of the USBG, and a competitor in several competitions. Her love for cocktails and creating them has grown over the years and will continue to grow as she hones her craft and works towards her goal of creating new and exciting drinks. Lyndsi is proud to be a part of such an incredible community of talented people and can’t wait to show Phoenix what she’s got!
Leave your report cards and school books at home. From the chefs on the line with silver-studded ears and tomahawk hair, to the inked-up, decked-out bar staff mixologists shaking and stirring some of the most creative cocktails, we’re all dropouts here. Culinary Dropout serves the very best in unique gastropub fare and quietly seeks out future musical venue superstars who wouldn’t mind being paid at the bar in whiskey and pretzel bites. They’re not easily definable and even harder to forget. And they’ve done that on purpose so you could come and hang out. Spend time in their pub enjoying live music over brunch or happy hour. So seriously, come and hang out this weekend.
Clay Cone @ Phoenix Public Market Café
As a born and raised Phoenician, Clay loves the Downtown Phoenix local community. He’s been bartending at the Phoenix Public Market Café for just over a year and loves having the opportunity to bring local ingredients into the growing craft cocktail scene. Clay has become engrossed in the craft itself over a short period of time and is looking forward to where it takes him.
Phoenix Public Market Café is open seven days a week 7am – 10pm serving you breakfast, lunch and dinner. Enjoy our happy hour menu 3-6pm and find happy hour priced drinks all day long. With a mission to build community through food, PPMC stays committed to working with local farms, purveyors and artisans to provide a complete local experience.
Matt Farrow @ Windsor
Matt Farrow is a 14 year veteran of the hospitality industry. His experience includes opening the speakeasy-style Green Russell in Denver, CO, and promoting West Coast craft brew at San Diego’s Hopping Pig Gastropub, before joining the team at Upward Projects. Matt is a creative force behind the bar at Windsor, where his hospitality is genuine, and his execution is immaculate. Matt is especially fond of whiskey, and focuses on authentic infusions, simplicity, and balance in his cocktails. In his free time, he enjoys astronomy, fringe scientific theory, and his lovely girlfriend.
Tucked into its namesake historic Phoenix neighborhood, Windsor is a hip, local hangout with one of the best patios in town. Upward Projects kept the concept simple: high-quality wine and beer on tap, a robust selection of craft cocktails and a kitchen that cranks out casual and familiar bar food with an upscale twist. For an added scoop of “cool”, save some room for the homemade ice cream and nostalgic candy offered at Windsor’s own next door ice cream parlor, Churn.
Michael Soo @ Crudo
Michael has been bartending on and off for the past 10 years, and more recently has been working along side two of his mentors, Micah Olson, and Clint “Spotty” Spotleson. He is a lover of all things tiki, and has an extensive collection of tiki mugs and carvings, which branches over into to his love for rum and Polynesian-style cocktails. Michael is also active in the bartending community and is the Treasurer of the Phoenix Chapter of the United States Bartenders’ Guild.
‘Crudo’ means raw in Italian, which is Chef Cullen Campbell’s specialty. It’s sashimi with an Italian-style flair. The menu is simple in structure, broken down into four distinct elements; crudo (raw), cotto (cooked), mozza (mozzarella), and griglia (grilled). Meats are cooked on a custom-made wood-fired grill, mozzarella is pulled fresh daily, and Chef Campbell only uses the best local produce to deliver a truly original experience. Equally delicious are the magnificent cocktails, using an extensive, handpicked list of spirits and farm-to-glass ingredients to craft cocktails with absolute precision.
Cortney Wilson @ District American Kitchen and Wine Bar
Cortney is a trained chef turned bartender, and has a diverse palate for melding flavors together. She has a knack for creating her own bitters and syrups and loves using fresh herbs from the rooftop garden in creating her cocktails. She enjoys drinks you can sip and relax with, like a good whiskey.
District American Kitchen and Wine Bar features your favorite American comfort foods with a contemporary twist, showcasing artisan products, herbs from their very own garden, and sustainably farmed produce from local growers. Though classic drinks are served, District American Kitchen and Wine Bar also features a wide array of American wines, spirits, and local brews to cater to those who appreciate a break from the status quo.
Find District American Kitchen and Wine Bar on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.