December’s Bartender of the Month:
Shaker of Cocktails at Here & Now
300 S Santa Fe Ave - DTLA
Our current favorite bartender.
Here And Now has been causing waves in the industry ever since their opening. The team behind the new cocktail bar at the One Santa Fe Plaza in a very industrial area of the Arts District.
Sunny and the team has created a heck of a staple cocktail menu but what caught our eye was their Blitzen Holiday Menu. Completely curated as it was an old Christmas Tales book, filled with art, food, holiday cocktails, and an ambiance that might trick you into thinking you’re in New York with snow frosting the windows. Sunny’s creativity and hospitality shine at all angles but we also took great note of how grateful his partners are to have him there. That’s a true sign of talent and appreciation.
Here And Now doesn’t have a Happy Hour… yet. We had the immense pleasure to experience their Blizten Holiday Menu and we had a blast. Pay them a visit, sit at the bar, but do explore the space, it is absolutely stunning. Tell Sunny to make you a bartender’s choice and experience the magic, we promise he won’t disappoint.
Our One On One with Sunny:
We got to chat with Sunny over Eggnog and Kosher meals. He discussed where he began, who mentored him along the way, and where he spends his Happy Hour time.
HHC: Where were you born?
SL: Oakland, California.
HHC: Where do you currently reside?
SL: Downtown Los Angeles.
HHC: How long have you been a bartender?
SL: Around 5 years now, since 2013.
HHC: When did you know you wanted to become a bartender?
SL: I took on bartending seriously when I met Mike, the bartender, at “The Butterfly Lounge”. A dingy, seven-seat bar located on the bottom floor of an old hotel in SF off of Van Ness Ave. Mike taught me his ‘Craft’ ideology and I fell in love with the idea and made sure to abide by it. Another stand out moment was when I first had the cucumber gimlet at Bourbon & Branch in SF.
HHC: What’s your favorite wine to drink?
SL: I’m definitely more of a red wine guy. I like slightly sweet, Italian reds, but a complex, smooth drinking pinot noirs are also good.
HHC: What’s your favorite drink to pair with your favorite meal?
SL: I actually rarely drink alcohol when I eat. Just water.
HHC: What is a must have at every bar you go to/work at?
SL: Amaro Montenegro. Amaro period.
HHC: What is your favorite type of bar? Why?
SL: I like low-key bars with solid, crafty, interesting cocktails. I am also fascinated with design and aesthetic, so a beautiful bar usually wins me over too.
HHC: Where is your favorite bar? Why?
SL: Here & Now in the Arts District! Duh! Slipper Clutch is also high on the list.
HHC: What kind of typical bar regular do you like?
SL: I like people who come in with an open mind and allow the bartender to be creative. Whether it be an on the spot concoction or just a back pocket classic.
HHC: Do you know any bar tricks?
SL: Bar tricks? I have a little bit of working flair, but all in all, I just make a mean drink.
HHC: How did you end up working where you are now?
SL: A lot of trial and error.
HHC: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
SL: I just try to live as best and as happy as I can, day to day. 5 years from now is so hard to predict, so I’d rather not. I know 5 years prior I had no idea I would be where I’m at now.
HHC: What is a must when putting together your cocktail program?
SL: Outstanding hospitality, beautifully designed bar, and good cocktails of course.
HHC: Who was/is your mentor/idol if you had one?
SL: I had a couple of mentors that trained me in SF when I moved up from serving. Mentors: Brian (The Hawaiian), Oscar Munoz, and Dennis Schurr. Bar Idol: Kevin Diedtrich.
HHC: Where do you go for Happy Hour when/if you have the time?
HHC: What’s one thing you think it takes to be a good bartender besides education?
SL: Being personable and empathetic. People just want to be treated well. Especially when people go out and spend their time and hard-earned dollars, they deserve to feel special. Just treat others the way you would like to be treated.
HHC: What’s the craziest thing that has ever happened to you on the job?
SL: Ha! I’d tell you, but I’d have to kill ya!