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11 Bartenders to Watch in DFW

By Farah Fleurima
March 19, 2014

Though it can look simple at times, it takes skill, attention to detail and precision to create a well-balanced cocktail. These local bartenders elevate the craft by consistently turning out beautiful, endlessly complex drinks, spiking the city’s cocktail punch with their own energy and creativity. Here are 11 bartenders and bar managers worth bellying up to the bar for.

  • Christian Armando

    Current bar: The Standard Pour
    How long he’s been tending bar: Six years
    Favorite drink to make and order: "If I have to decide, I guess an old fashioned." 
    What he likes to do when not at the bar: “I’m either studying, practicing some outdoor sports (soccer, tennis, swimming, bike riding), or at the bar.”

    2900 McKinney Ave.; 214-935-1370

  • Brad Bowden

    Current bar: Barter
    How long he’s been tending bar: 8 years. “I landed my first gig when I was 17 at City Streets in downtown Fort Worth. They stuck me in the service well in the very back of one of its four clubs. Gotta start somewhere, right?”
    Favorite drink to make: “I catch a lot of flak over it, but I am probably the only bartender in Dallas that loves to make Ramos Gin Fizzes.”
    Favorite drink to order: “Negroni on the rocks with a 2-1-1 ratio of gin, Campari and sweet vermouth. Flamed orange peel makes for a nice touch.”
    What he likes to do when not at the bar: “When I’m off, I like to lounge around the house and play Call of Duty. If I go out, I like to stay close to home and barhop up and down Greenville Avenue or walk to Cosmos.”

    3232 McKinney Ave.; 214-969-6898

  • Photo by: Farah Fleurima

    Feo Forte

    Current bar: Boulevardier
    How long he’s been tending bar: Five years
    Favorite drink to make: “My version of the whiskey sour, with egg white.”
    Favorite drink to order: “Back home in Puerto Rico, scratch-made piña coladas. Otherwise, the South Side - it’s like a gin mojito.”
    What he likes to do when not at the bar: “Read too much. I love traveling, figuring out how other cultures eat and drink. I love cinema.”

    408 N. Bishop Ave.; 214-942-1828

  • Ryan Fussell

    Current bar: Bird Café
    How long he's been tending bar: 11 years
    Favorite drink to make: The Gin Fizz
    Favorite drink to order: The Vieux Carré
    What he likes to do when not at the bar: Catching any local sporting event from college, professional and semi-pro.

    155 E. Fourth St. (Fort Worth); 817-332-2473

  • Devin McCullough

    Current bar: The People’s Last Stand
    How long he’s been tending bar: 2 years
    Favorite drink to make: “Anything that will push me creatively, and that is exactly what my guests crave.”
    Favorite drink to order: “An old fashioned, but how the bartender likes to make it. Simply, I just love bourbon.”
    What he likes to do when not at the bar: “I love to paint at home while jamming out to some sweet old-school soul records or riding around on my bike to enjoy the weather.”

    5319 E. Mockingbird Ln.; 214-370-8755

  • Matt Orth

    Current bar: LARK on the Park
    How long he’s been tending bar: 7 years
    Favorite drink to make: “Right now, probably a New York sour. Whiskey, fresh lemon juice and a little simple syrup, poured over ice and topped with a dry red wine (we use an Argentinean Malbec at LARK). It’s simple, fresh and bright with a little fruit from the wine. Great for moving into spring.”
    Favorite drink to order:  “Damon Bird’s barrel-aged cocktails at LARK or Lauren Loiselle’s barrel program at the Meddlesome Moth. Damon’s Camara Lanta - meaning slow motion - is a really nice, well-rounded mezcal cocktail that has soft smoke and citrus notes. Lauren has the Ulysses cocktail. Brandy, Cherry Heering and dry vermouth. A great way to finish the evening.”
    What he likes to do when not at the bar: “I really enjoy running. When I’m not running, I’m probably sampling some amazing offerings by Dallas’ best mixologists or hanging out at a place with a great tap wall.”

    2015 Woodall Rodgers Fwy.; 214-855-5275

  • Julian Pagan

    Current bar: Chino Chinatown
    How long he’s been tending bar: 10 years. “I started working behind the bar as soon as they would let me. I would bar back in the clubs when I was 18, because I looked up to the bartenders.”
    Favorite drink to make: “I'm into anything tiki right now. It’s getting warm outside, so juicy, slushy, fruity, unusual drinks are definitely in order. Plus, I love tiki mugs and over-the-top garnishes.”
    Favorite drink to order: “It’s just a beer and a shot of whiskey for me.”
    What he likes to do when not at the bar: “I’ve picked up tennis lately. It’s very challenging.”

    3011 Gulden Ln.; 469-513-7457

  • Matt Perry

    Current Bar: Belly & Trumpet
    How long he’s been tending bar: 18 years
    Favorite drink to make: The Tommy Turn-Around, a cocktail featuring rum, orgeat syrup and Lillet
    Favorite drink to order: Martinez, a classic gin drink
    What he likes to do when not at the bar: Spend time with family

    3407 McKinney Ave.; 214-855-5551

  • Chase Streitz

    Current bar: Sissy’s Southern Kitchen & Bar
    How long he’s been tending bar: 9 years
    Favorite drink to make: “Ramos Gin Fizz. There's nothing like seeing someone's face when you put an egg white in their cocktail.”
    Favorite drink to order: “Old fashioned. It is very interesting to experience how each bar/bartender has their unique spin on the classic cocktail.”
    What he likes to do when not at the bar: “Texas Hold ’Em is a passion of mine. I also enjoy playing guitar and golf.”

    2929 N. Henderson Ave.; 214-827-9900

  • Bonnie Wilson

    Current Bar: The Ranch at Las Colinas
    How long she’s been tending bar: 5 years
    Favorite drink to make: Old fashioned  
    Favorite drink to order: Bourbon shot and a beer
    What she likes to do when not at the bar: Sit at other restaurants’ bars or play with her dogs

    857 W. John W. Carpenter Fwy.; 972-506-7262

  • Omar Yeefoon

    Current bar: The Standard Pour (and one of Smyth's high-profile alums)
    How long he’s been tending bar: 11 years
    Favorite drink to make: “At the moment, my favorite drink to make is a real martini.”
    Favorite drink to order: Rum on the rocks
    What he likes to do when not at the bar: Play and watch soccer, travel, and visit new restaurants and bars for research

    2900 McKinney Ave.; 214-935-1370

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Places Mentioned

Sissy's Southern Kitchen & Bar

Southern American • Knox-Henderson

Food- Decor- Service- CostI
 
 
 
LARK on the Park

Fine Dining • Uptown

Food24 Decor24 Service22 Cost$34
 
 
 
Boulevardier

French • Bishop Arts District

Food- Decor- Service- CostE
 
 
 
Chino Chinatown at Trinity Groves

Asian • Trinity Groves

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Barter

New American • Uptown

Food- Decor- Service- CostI
 
 
 
Meddlesome Moth

American • Stemmons Corridor

Food22 Decor24 Service21 Cost$32
 
 
 
 
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