If you haven’t met Evan Hawkins yet, it’s time. Not only is he fantastic behind the bar but he’s an all-around good guy, down for a good time.
You can find Evan serving up drinks at Nolita cocktail favorite Mother’s Ruin, and at Ba’sik in Brooklyn. He’s also worked as Head Bartender at Marquee – no easy feat – as well as Opera nightclub in Atlanta, and was on the opening teams at Bodega South Beach and Craft Social Club in Miami. Or you may have see him at Ludlow House, where he toiled as Bar Manager. Next up? Soon-to-open Gramercy casual Mexican spot, Street Taco.
So, without further ado, let’s go…
Drinking With Evan Hawkins
State your name + title + where you work + where you live for the record.
Evan Hawkins / Bartender, I Live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I am currently at Daddy’s Girl, Mother’s Ruin, and I sometimes pick up shifts at Ba’sik in Brooklyn.
How did you get started in the biz? What was your first hospitality job?
Two answers. I bartended at Ruby Tuesday’s in college and was also a barback at a super shitty dive bar. One day my bartender got so wasted before the shift. So, I got the chance to pour drinks, and by drinks, I mean open Budweiser’s and pour jack and cokes. I didn’t get formal training until years later at Pappasitos Cantina in Atlanta, GA, and that’s really where it all began.
What is your current go-to drink order?
Beer and a shot (rye in the winter and tequila/mescal in the summer). Shittier the beer the better. Tecate or High-life preferable. My go to cocktail order is always and forever a Negroni or some variation on it. If you have a Negroni riff on your menu it’ll always be the first thing I order. Three ingredients, and beauty in simplicity.
Do you drink coffee or tea? Any favorite local spots to mention, how do you drink it and how many times a day/week?
Tea over coffee, but it gets weird if I drink coffee. I can’t even have a coke without bouncing around like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. So, if I ever do drink coffee it’s probably at 11 pm, and I’m trying jazz myself up for a beast of a shift. Tea for me is always green tea with honey and coffee – if I do drink it -is always a latte with enough sugar to make the spoon stand straight up.
What are your favorite bars in NYC?
Mother’s Ruin (even though I work there), Nitecap, Attaboy, Basik in Brooklyn, Mulhollands in Brooklyn; I like bars that hug you when you walk in, that you can just slip right into like your favorite jacket. That’s my favorite type of bar.
Classics: McSorley’s, PDT, Death & Co.
Best places to go on an expense account: Blue Ribbon Brasserie (all the escargot, bone marrow, and seafood towers, please) Keen’s Steakhouse (50/50 martinis and all the meats and lobsters) and lastly the King Cole bar at the St. Regis. Grumpy old bartenders and martinis. If someone else is footing the bill, then I’m there in spades.
Hidden gem/hole in the wall: Featherweight in Brooklyn is always one of my favorite tucked away little bars, and it needs more credit. Always a very good time. Suzume in Brooklyn as well. Excellent bar and some of the best sushi and ramen out there. It’s one of my staples. Also, Xixa in Brooklyn. Awesome inventive little cocktail program and the most wonderful food and it’s only five blocks from apartment.
Where do you take out-of-towners for cocktails for an “Only in NYC” experience?
Employees Only on a Sunday for sure. PDT, Attaboy, and then always Mother’s Ruin.
Pedialyte, a joint, a nap, and all the meats and cheeses.
Favorite NYC nightlife memory?
I served Amanda Bynes once during her whole unfortunate phase (unless that is still happening… I’m not sure). She was just as weird and as you could imagine. The place was loud, and she stood there whispering her order to me through her moppy bleached blonde nest. I couldn’t understand her. Finally, I figured out she was just mouthing the word cranberry juice. She sunk back into the crowd as quickly as she appeared. It was one of the more strange interactions I’ve had over a bar.
My favorite memory would be serving RZA from wu-tang a Sailor Jerry and coke with a lime only for the reason that it was RZA and Wu-tang is life.
Special shout to any bartenders or drinks makers out there that you do your best to visit and you think deserve some special love? (can be any category not just bartenders but somms, baristas, etc.)
Man, this kid is one of the best all-around human beings and bartenders and he definitely needs to get more love. Scotty James from Mothers Ruin is hands down one of my favorite humans. One of the best people to be stuck in a foxhole with and also the pinnacle of hospitality even when you’re slammed. He proves that hospitality and volume don’t have to be mutually exclusive. He’s a sweetheart and absolutely fun to watch.
My other would be Russel Dillon at Basik. Not just for our mutual love of all things 90’s hip-hop but because there’s always a hug at the end of the bar and warm smile to greet you every single time you see him. He commands that bar and it’s just awesome to see him work. You can’t help but leave that bar with a smile.
Spill it. Shameless what are you working on right now?
I am currently building programs for two upcoming restaurant/bars that I am beyond excited to talk about. The first one is Street Taco that will be coming to the Gramercy neighborhood. Tequila and mescal cocktails are frozen and on draft. Just lots of fun to be had and agave is never a bad time.
The other is a little bit of time away, but it will be a massive project coming to Murray Hill with three programs in one. So keep your eyes peeled. Sorry, I have to hold that one a little closer to the chest.
Social Call – where can Thirsty readers keep up with you on social media?
@evanhawkins is my name on everything, from Twitter to IG.