Chris Patino is a very familiar name to those in the beverage industry, and for good reason. This seasoned veteran has worked at some of the most iconic brands around and somehow always seems present at every major industry event. Host of Speed Rack, panel of World’s 50 Best Bars, bon vivant and all around really fun guy to know.
He recently teamed up with Erick Castro aka Bartender at Large, so we find out Chris’ favorite things in his new hometown of San Diego. Being more than quite knowledgeable about hospitality and drinks, we are excited to go drinking with Chris Patino.
Drinking With Chris Patino
State your name & title & where you work & where you live for the record.
Chris Patino, Partner at Simple Serve. Currently living in San Diego
How did you get started in the biz?
My first job in hospitality was bussing tables at an Italian restaurant in Southern California, everyone should have to do it at least once in their lives. I’ve been a dish washer too, but I got my first bar gig after moving to New Orleans. It was at an Irish Bar on Toulouse St in the French Quarter.
Funny story, I almost took a job with Sean Muldoon (Dead Rabbit) back in 2000. He was on the opening crew for a bar in Belfast called the Northern Wig. Long story short, I got the job, but ended up moving back to the US before the bar opened. I still have the offer letter somewhere.
What is your current go-to drink order?
Man, I love a good Pimm’s Cup. Especially this time of year. Either Dante in NYC or Revel in New Orleans. Chris McMillian makes a mean one.
Do you drink coffee or tea?
I drink a lot of tea, usually at home, but I get my tea from the Rare Tea Cellar in Chicago (Hi Roderick!) Currently, I am obsessed with anything Oolong. If it’s coffee, then I am usually sipping on something roasted by the Coffee & Tea collective on El Cajon Boulevard in San Diego.
What is your hangover remedy?
A Snicker’s bar and a bottle of San Pellegrino. Every time …. although it rarely works.
Know you are in SD now, but what is your favorite spot in NYC for late night “tipsy” eats?
Daddy-O. Hands down. In fact, I was probably there last night! I think.
Guilty pleasure, no apologies necessary drink?
A Hurricane outside on the patio at Pat O’Brien’s or a Flaming Dr. Pepper from the Gold Mine. Both in New Orleans.
What was your first boozy drink?
When I was growing up my dad used to drink Tequila and Tonics, almost exclusively…..so of course I would sneak the “occasional” sip ;)
What is your very last sip death row drink?
50/50 Gibson with Plymouth Gin. Some things will never change.
Favorite Hospitality Venue suggestions for:
Taking out-of-towners for cocktails for an “Only in Southern Cali” experience?
The Hotel Del in Coronado
Romantic “let’s get it on” date night?
George’s at the Cove
A Classic Dive night?
The Turf Club
Serious R&D to get inspired?
What is your favorite quintessential warm weather drink?
Champagne please! But if it has to be a cocktail, I’ll take a Mint Julep.
You do a good amount of traveling, what is your favorite international city to imbibe?
Definitely London. No surprises there, but every time I go I come back feeling inspired. I’ve been traveling to Guadalajara a lot lately though, and I am really impressed by the energy down there right now.
If you could have drinks with anyone dead, alive or fictional, who would it be and what would you both be drinking?
My Great Grandfather, William Harold Treliving. He was a Steamfitter that helped to build the Titanic. After setting sail from Belfast, where the Titanic was built, to Southampton, he was one of three engineers asked to disembark from the ship because of overstaffing. I would love to know how he felt when he heard about the ship’s sinking (a tragedy for sure), and how it must have given him a new outlook on life. We would be drinking Punch à la Romaine in honor of those who lost their lives that day.
Who is the best drinking buddy for a wild night out?
Chris Bostick from Half Step or Zach Patterson and Austin Melrose from the Melrose Umbrella Company. Hands down!
Special shout to any bars across the U.S. (know there are way too many) but some that you think are blowing minds with their cocktail menus.
Personally, I believe that less is more when it comes to menus. HOWEVER, I do like a menu that tells a story, or provides the guest with a reason for reading it (read: trying to steal it). The Tarot Cards at the Drifter in Chicago are super cool, so is the activity book built into Polite Provision’s new menu in San Diego. And, of course (I am jumping on the band wagon here), the boys at the Dead Rabbit always do a good job at drawing their guests in. But those are just a few. Oh, I can’t wait for the Aviary’s book to be released.
Any advice for aspiring young guns wanting to break into the industry?
Work hard, have patience, and don’t be afraid to fail….But most importantly always listen more then you speak and be respectful of everyone. I also think that it is important to take a look at your current position or situation, and think about where you would like to end up. Then set goals, no matter how small, to help you get there. If you don’t have a destination in mind, you might end up getting lost along the way.
Spill it …. shameless what are you working on right now?
Erick Castro and I are six months into our new business, Simple Serve, which is essentially a small agency that helps brands to see things through the eyes of the bartender. Stacey Swenson is on the team too, and she is killing it right now. We are working with some really great brands, and we’ve got a lot of exciting projects in the pipeline. So, stay tuned!
Social Call – where can Thirsty readers keep up with you and your bar adventures on social media?
@NYCocktail (I just can’t give it up) and @simpleserve of course!