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Los Angeles Bartenders & Mixologists: Meet The City's Finest

Huffington Post     First Posted: 12/24/10 02:11 PM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 07:20 PM ET

Los Angeles has some of the hottest bar scenes in the country right now. With features like market-fresh ingredients, homage to Prohibition Era classics, and even a focus on molecular gastronomy, these drinks are taking center stage. We're celebrating the city's finest bartenders and mixologists in this piece, giving them a space to both strut their stuff and let you in on a little secret: they love hearing bad pick-up lines--especially laughing about them afterward.

Some things of note: Joseph Brooke, director of spirits at The Edison, is marrying a woman that he met at a bar (it's not an urban legend!). Giovanni Martinez of Les Deux told us about a secret bartender's party where they all count down to New Year's Eve days afterward (since most will be working on the 31st). And all of them, no matter how busy, are keeping an ear open for the worst pick-up lines of the night.

Jason Bran of The Roger Room
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You may recognize Jason Bran from this season's search for America's top bartender (On The Rocks). Hundreds auditioned but only 8 were chosen to compete, and while Jason didn't win, he managed to have a whole lot of fun. He invites everyone to check out the Roger Room, where "we strive to restore not only the craft of great cocktails but also a sense of hospitality to Hollywood!"

Editor's note: We took lots of photos of Jason behind the bar, but he insisted we use this one with him on top!

Status: I am fortunate to have found someone that keeps me happy and can tolerate my frequent randomness.
Worst Pick-Up Line: Recently there was a guy at my bar who would lead in with a random fact about seahorses. Thankfully he used a new fact on each attempt, but every time he dispensed another one it was hard to not laugh out loud. I'm not sure how he fared, but I was entertained for sure. Thank you seahorse guy!
Ideal Date: Food is important but a good bar program is a requirement. I love the newly opened Red Medicine! I need to know I can start the meal with a negroni and finish it with fernet, even if it is brunch.
What's Attractive To You?: I have always been a sucker for a great smile. Beyond that I look for sincerity, a good sense of humor, and ambition.
Mix To Impress: I would say if you're not comfortable with bartending techniques, don't experiment on a date. Learn about whatever spirits you have in your bar and think about compensating for the lack of mixology skills with something like a fancy ice cube. You can buy some pretty awesome ice molds these days. Attention to details can make something simple more impressive.
New Year's Eve Plans: I will be in my hometown Seattle celebrating with my family and friends. Not sure if I am going to go out and get crazy or keep it low-key. I am excited for 2011 though, so I am leaning towards madness.
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