Robert Mariani; USBG Raleigh-Durham; 15 years in the industry
Professional Stats & Vitals: Worked in Washington DC, learned from the likes of Jose Andres and Derek Brown. Still bartend but also own a cocktail mixer company, flagship product is Alley Twenty Six Tonic Syrup.
First job: Sandwiches - Nightclub in Wellington, New Zealand
Why this business: Once it got a hold of me, I couldn't see myself doing anything else. The people. The places. The food and drinks. The experiences.
Childhood ambition: Filmmaker
Best part of job: Meeting people and maybe making their day.
Stress relievers: Sailing, playing guitar, my dog
If you won the lottery tomorrow: Buy a bigger boat, sail to the Caribbean, stay there. Oh, and visit all the best bars in the world.
Pet peeve: Bottles not being put back where they belong.
Advice you could offer to others: Create an experience for others. Sharing food and drink is the most social thing we can do as humans, and it brings us closer.
Best advice you ever got: Around 2005, Derek Brown told me "bartending is a noble profession." And it is. In good times and bad, people seek out a drink to celebrate or to escape. A bartender can usher in the good times with you or be there when you need a break from the drudgery. Anticipate what your guest needs and you may make a friend for life.
Best compliment anyone could give you: Your tonic got me through my pregnancy.
Riskiest thing you've ever done: In a bar?
Personal heroes: Jose Andres, Ed Hamilton, any bartender that wins on Jeopardy.
Is there something about you that would surprise people?
I hate olives. But love martinis.
How do you turn around a lousy day?
Get in a hammock.
Most interesting place traveled & why:
India. It's such a wild, vibrant and reflective place. Bustling ancient cities, vast natural spaces, bright colors, the spices, joy and laughter even while amongst poverty, elephants everywhere, the only place I could be a vegetarian, the feeling that everything is holy.
What's the simplest thing you've never mastered?
Trays. Hate them. That's why I'm behind the bar.
Do you have a website, for personal or business reasons? Share it here!
Favorite part of usbg.org?
Meeting our industry family from near and far. Educational events and travel opportunities.
Sports team: Red Sox.
If you could change jobs with anyone for a day, who would it be?
President. But only during this administration.
What other profession would you never try?
Anything involving a cubicle.
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
"Stirred or shaken?"
Anything we missed?
Thanks for not asking, "What's your favorite drink?"