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GM and bar manager Jenny Schwartz is one half of the operation behind this delightful American-Japanese fusion restaurant.
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Oakland is no longer the dark little sister of the City by the Bay. ” Dogwood (address and info) and Prizefighter (address and info) Vita has been honing her craft for the last 11 years at some of the best bars in the Bay Area (and the country), keeping her in high demand at the likes of Dogwood, Prizefighter, and SF’s Benjamin Cooper.
Her own concoctions are creative, fresh, and subtly medicinal, but she’s a whiz at the classics too (literally the best Negroni I’ve ever had… Soon you’ll be able to catch her at her own spot, as she’s currently working on transforming and revitalizing the mid-century classic Art’s Crab Shack into Copper Spoon Cocktails & Kitchen, set to open later this year.
And while, yeah, the simple Indian street food that’s served is worth ordering on its own, it’s more worth pairing with any of the cocktails on the menu, all inspired by the spice trade.
The fun, engaging Nikki, who’s meticulously working her way through each spirit to learn its intricacies and possibilities, can whip you up a day drinking-friendly daiquiri or the kind of Scotch-heavy drink that’ll put hair on your chest. It’s basically a Manhattan with Scotch, which creates a smooth, smoky, uber-masculine cocktail your grandfather would no doubt approve of.
Signature cocktail: Islay Tart, featuring Armagnac, Caol Ila 12 year, Cynar, and Carpano Antica served up in a glass half-rimmed with smoked Okinawan sea salt and seasoned with yuzu Where she drinks when she’s not working: “Pretty exclusively one of the following: wine at very casual dinner parties at friends’ houses; Prizefighter, where my go-to drink is a Cynar Boulevardier; Nido for the great food and mezcal margaritas; and the Aloha Club on Fruitvale Ave (where I drink Negra Modelo and shots of Herradura Blanco) for Warriors-watching at its best.” What she loves about Oakland: “I grew up in Southern California, lived in DC for many years, have worked all over SF and the Bay Area, and I have never ever loved the guests I serve as much as those here in Oakland.