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Ten Best Bartenders in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

Ten Best Bartenders in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

From Emeril Lagasse to Paula Deen, whether famous or infamous, the celebrity chef is now such an enormous mainstay of American culture, we hardly remember it wasn't always that way. Self proclaimed foodies and the rise of the celebu-chef is a fairly recent phenomenon. Don't get us wrong - it's a phenomenon of which we hardily approve. We would, however, like to add another aspect to the celebrity line up -- the bartender.

Whether you're merely a weekend imbiber or there's a stool at your favorite bar that has your butt imprint worn into it, having a good barkeep/bar patron relationship can make the whole experience that much more pleasant. A good bartender knows his or her regulars, can anticipate their orders, and can prepare any cocktail by the book or with their own special flare. He or she knows your favorite drink -- or spirits -- your weekly habits, and has the perfect trick for cheering you up when you're feeling down.

See also:

- Five Things Needed in the Fort Lauderdale Food Scene

- Ten Best Restaurants in Delray Beach

- Ten Best Sandwich Shops in South Florida

When carefully cultivated, it's a rapport like no other. (Which may or may not indicate a problem, but we'll leave you to your own business.)

Regardless, chefs might be the new celebrities, but we believe the person pouring our drinks is just as worthy of our respect. With that, we've decided to bring you the ten best bartenders in South Florida.

Ten Best Bartenders in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

10. Erik Smith - 3rd & 3rd

South Florida's cocktail culture might be growing -- at a snail's pace -- but there are few spots that offer a great cocktail in a casual setting. Cue: 3rd & 3rd. Friendly and laid-back bar manager Erik Smith serves up inventive cocktails in an environment that feels like home -- if you were a mixologist, that is. Drinks like the Bees Knees with Plymouth gin, lemon juice, and honey syrup and the Sazerac, a combination a ting of absinthe, bulleit rye bourbon, bitters, simple syrup, and a twist, incorporate modern and traditional watering hole trends. Just because you want to chill out doesn't mean you should be resigned to crappy drinks. Pay a visit to Erik: he'll help ease the stress away.

3rd and 3rd is located at 301 NE Third Ave. in Delray Beach. Call 561-303-1939, or visit 3rdand3rd.com.



Ten Best Bartenders in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

9. Manny Alayeto - Dada

South Florida is known for its ubiquitous mojitos, but if you haven't tried one of Manny Alayeto's, you're missing out. From dark rum and fresh ginger to strawberry and vodka, Alayeto's creations are out of this world. More than happy to divulge a recipe or two, his homespun mint-infused simple syrup is what perfects these all-too-easy to screw up tropical cocktails. While most bartenders complain about the time and work that goes into making one of these omni-present drinks, Alayeto revels in it, and that's why his are perfect.

Dada is located at 52 N. Swinton Ave. in Delray Beach. Call 561-330-3232, or visit dada.closermagazine.com.

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Ten Best Bartenders in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

8. Alexander J. Stajduhar - The Tipsy Boar

From randall-infused brews to crazy foams to classic cocktails, the Tipsy Boar's Alexander J. Stajduhar is like an alcohol-inspired artist. His nightly specials and ever-changing cocktail creations incorporate mind-boggling flavors and ingredients. Ever try a double barrel randall Southern Tier Creme Brule Stout and Left Hand Milk Stout infused with peanut butter, butterscotch, and nutter butter cookies? If you haven't sat at this guy's bar, that's a 'no.' What about a Hendrix cantaloupe, dragon fruit, and raspberry martini with black pepper? We doubt it. And downtown Hollywood is all the better for it.

The Tipsy Boar is located at 1906 Harrison St. in Hollywood. Call 954-920-2627, or visit thetipsyboar.com.

Ten Best Bartenders in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

7. Nick Scalisi - PB Catch

The mixologist is basically the front of house chef; so it's not surprising that PB Catch's is actually a culinary school graduate. From his perch in the restaurant's lounge and bar, Scalisi constructs some amazing flavor combinations using the freshest herbs, seasonal fruits, and top-of-the-line-ingredients. From sugar-coated edible roses to handcrafted syrups and infusions, he uses innovative elements to make some of the most imaginative drinks around. His Watermelon S.O.B., for example, combines tequila with a house-made cilantro infusion, watermelon, soda water, cilantro, and micro watermelon. Just think of him as your drinking buddy/personal chef.

PB Catch is located at 251 Sunrise Ave. in Palm Beach. Call 561-655-5558, or visit pbcatch.com.

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Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Broward-Palm Beach® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

 

Ten Best Bartenders in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

6. Adam Seger - iPic Entertainment

Based out of South Florida several months out of the year, iPic Entertainment's Master Mixologist and Advanced Sommelier, has received all sorts of lofty titles by publications across the US. New City has called him 'The Charlie Trotter of Cocktails'; Food & Wine claimed he's a 'Spirits Guru'; and he was once referred to as 'Chicago's Godfather of Craft Cocktails' by TimeOut. Now he's the master and commander of the fresh and inventive cocktail list at -- among other places -- Tanzy and iPic Theaters in Mizner Park. It's not often that your mixologist is considered a master, but this guy is seriously legit.

Tanzy is located at 301 Plaza Real in Boca Raton. Call 561-922-6699, or visit tanzyrestaurant.com/boca.

Ten Best Bartenders in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

5. Sean Iglehart - Sweetwater Bar & Grill

Known as one of the preeminent mixologists in all of South Florida, Iglehart is credited for getting Sweetwater New Times' pick for Best Place for Predinner Drinks - 2012. He is a man known for respecting the art of tending bar. He uses the finest ingredients ranging from house-made bitters to fresh fruits and juices to otherworldly gins and classic eau de vies. This man has turned many a patron into a classic cocktail fan with his traditional drinks like his Ramos gin fizz, made with Plymouth sloe gin, lemon, simple syrup, club soda, egg whites, and a garnish in a highball glass.

Sweetwater Bar & Grill is located at 1507 S. Federal Highway in Boynton Beach. Call 561-509-9277, or visit sweetwater33.com.

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Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Broward-Palm Beach® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

 

Ten Best Bartenders in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

4. Angela Dugan - Kapow! Noodle Bar

Strong, talented, and not even a hint of mixologist attitude, Kapow's Angela Dugan whips up some amazing mixtures without any of the pretense associated with many tenders of bar. From house-infused bourbons to low-impact cocktails, like Earth, Wind, & Fire with beet-infused Tito's vodka, rosemary simple syrup and smoked black pepper, with less than one ounce of alcohol per drink, Dugan's greatest asset is her ability to understand her customer's desires -- hence, the cocktail options that won't get you floored. Fortunately for us, she caters to them impeccably.

Kapow! Noodle Bar is located at 431 Plaza Real in Boca Raton. Call 561-347-7322, or visit facebook.com/kapownoodlebar.

Ten Best Bartenders in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

3. Jacques "Bleubird" Bruna - Laser Wolf

Part of tending bar is the ability to put on a show, this is where Bruna excels -- he's one of the area's most talented musicians and lyricists. While you're not exactly going to catch him laying down a beat behind the bar, you will find that the guy sure knows how to perform. That's exactly why he was our pick for New Times Best Bartender this year. Come in just a couple times and the certified cicerone will know your name, your face, and most likely your beer preferences. Plus, he's more than happy to give you recommendations if you ask. Nice guys don't always finish last.

Laser Wolf is located at 901 Progresso Drive in Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-667-9373, or visit laserwolf.com.

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Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Broward-Palm Beach® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

 

Ten Best Bartenders in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

2. Charles Steadman - Lantana Jacks

They say diversity is the key to success. In terms of variety behind the bar, Steadman has got it. From highly renowned establishments like Waldorf Astoria and the Breakers in Palm Beach to populous haunts Olive Garden and Buffalo Wild Wings, this guy has probably mixed up about anything you could imagine. After traveling and mixing drinks across the globe, Steadman can now be frequently found behind his antique bar shaking up creative blends, such as his Jack's Mojito with house-infused golden delicious apple rum or Fresh Ginger-ritas, a ginger margarita with Espolon Silver and a spicy salt half rim, at the bar he co-owns, Lantana Jacks.

Lantana Jacks Bar and Grill is located at 308 N. Dixie Highway in Lantana. Call 561-847-4158, or visit lantanajacks.com.

Ten Best Bartenders in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

1. Paige Nast - Tap 42

Our youngest mixologist on the list runs the extensive beverage program at Fort Lauderdale's busiest bar, Tap 42. At 22 years old that's extremely impressive. While the cocktail culture in Broward and Palm Beach counties has quite a ways to go to rival Miami or any other great food town in the country, Nast is doing her part to speed things up. Her creative cocktails span the spirits world from very popular vodka concoctions, like the Lucky Lychee with Ketel One Citroen, lychee juice, fresh lemon, raspberry puree, and rosemary to heavier, but accessible bourbon drinks like the lavender lemonade with Maker's 46, organic lavender syrup, and fresh lemon to beer cocktails like the Sweet Devil with Cigar City Maduro Oatmeal-Brown Port Reduction, Devil's Cut, Xocolatl Bitters, and Cocoa Nibs. Not only do her drinks feature many small batch and house-made ingredients, but she's exposing Fort Lauderdale to craft cocktail ethos.

Tap 42 is located 1411 S. Andrews Ave. in Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-463-4900, or visit tap42.com.

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Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Broward-Palm Beach® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.




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