Take a Look at New York’s Sexiest Bartenders (Part 1)

Ah, bartenders. They’re not always sexy—nor do they have to be to mix a great drink—but it sure is nice when they are. You sip your cocktail, unwind from the day, and gaze upon a thing of beauty for a while, letting the mind wander. Mild flirting keeps things interesting, but don’t get any ideas, because these sexy women and men have heard it all. Best to enjoy the view and keep it polite. Who knows, maybe they’ll take a real shine to you. Crazier things have happened. Here’s a slideshow of BlackBook’s first batch of New York’s sexiest bartenders, both female and male. It’s far from an exhaustive list, so if you have any other candidates, don’t keep them to yourself. Notify a BlackBook official immediately. We’ll keep posting them. Click, enjoy, and don’t forget to tip. (Click on the venue name for the full BlackBook Guides review.)

Oana Kovacs

Stone Rose Lounge

Oana is the head bartender at Stone Rose Lounge in the Time Warner Center. The Romanian beauty came to the States about seven years ago and lit up such spots as Tao and Buddha Bar before making her way to Stone Rose, where she impresses guests with her amazing cocktails and uncanny knack for memorizing complicated orders. Go ahead and test her, she’ll blow your mind.  

Kenny Malki

STK Midtown

Kenny holds down the bar at STK Midtown, elevating the cocktail menu above and beyond that of a normal steakhouse, which STK decidedly is not. He’s got a few thoughts on how to get positive romantic vibes going on a night out. 

What cocktail would you make to impress a date?

I’d make her something with rose water.  It has such a delicate taste and girls always go crazy over it since it’s different.

Why is STK Midtown a great date spot?

STK Midtown has a roaring fireplace and intimate banquette seating, so you feel like you’re just having dinner with your date and no one else.  All the plates are designed to be shared, so you have to interact with your date for the entire meal.

Sami Silbert

Whiskey Park

I know Sami because she was the bartender who mixed a selection of winter warmer cocktails for Vinny Guadagnino (of Jersey Shore) and me last year. Here’s the scoop on Sami, in her own words:

“I am a Manhattan native and fell into mixology by making my own creations and building a reputation by word of mouth.  I have been working for Gerber Group for six years now. I did work with Rande Gerber’s Caliche rum, and then became the Gerber Group mixologist shortly after. When I’m not designing specialty cocktails I’m designing clothes. I recently completed my associates degree at FIT, and am now working on my bachelors. Some of my other passions include tae kwon do–which I have a black belt in–muay thai, and krav maga. I live a fast-paced life and don’t intend on slowing down anytime soon”

Phillip Roshchupkim

Asellina

Working the bar at Gansevoort Park‘s Italian spot requires a deft touch with both cocktails and people. Fortunately, Phillip possesses both. Here are his thoughts on how to spice up a night out. 

What cocktail would you make to impress a date?

I’d want to give her something that has a little bite.  A jalapeno margarita is sensual, with tequila as its main ingredient, and the hot pepper will put a little fire in her step.

Why is Asellina a great date spot?

Asellina has the perfect balance of upbeat and romantic.  You can expect an outgoing vibe with the music and energy of the crowd, but you still get an intimate, romantic setting with the Italian menu, wine selection and warm fireplaces.

Michelle Romano

Whiskey Blue and Lilium

Michelle’s actually on hiatus right now, but she’s simply too lovely to leave off this list. After all, she had Jon Glaser and me in stitches as she prepared an amazing selection of cocktails at Lilium that featured Irish whiskey, and she invented a couple of Cinco de Mayo cocktails just for us. In any case, she assures us that she’ll be back behind the bar soon, so make sure to drop by Whiskey Blue every day so you don’t miss her triumphant return. 

Where are you from? 

I’m originally from Mt. Shasta California, which is the very top of Cali near the Oregon border. I spent 25 years in Cali before I transplanted myself to the East Coast. I grew up climbing trees, catching lizards, and playing in the mud. I was a total tomboy and complete ham, loved to be the center of attention and had a wild imagination, but I guess that’s no different from me now. 

What’s the secret to being a good bartender?

At the end of the day anyone can make a Jack and Coke. You have to have a personality if you want to get anywhere in the business. Too often I see bartenders who don’t smile, who look like they hate their jobs or hate people in general, and I think to myself "why are you even doing this? The money? Your tips can’t be very good with that attitude." Gerber hires personalities, not just bartenders. The reason I’ve gotten so far in this company in such a short period of time is because I’m a genuine, likeable person who enjoys what I do and works damn hard at it.

[Photo: Eric Fischer]

Khay Muhammad

Rogue & Canon

Khay Muhammad considers herself a Jane of all trades, exercising her creativity in the fields of mixology, DJing, music, and yoga.  Originally from Newark, she spent eight years in Connecticut at boarding school at Taft and college at Wesleyan. Since graduating, Khay has embraced the nightlife industry in New York, which has embraced her right back. “We can make great money, meet and speak with the most interesting people in New York, and get our shifts covered when travel or art opportunities present themselves," she says.  Previously Khay could be spotted slinging drinks at Santos Party House, Miss Lily’s, and The Standard, among others. She currently tends bar at the newly opened Rogue & Canon, where she works with the infamous mixologist (and friend of BlackBook) Johnny Swet.  (That’s also Khay in the main image. So nice we featured her twice.)

[Photo: Ijeoma D. Iheanacho]

Monica Alvarez

LAVO

It’s no surprise that Monica’s both a model and a bartender. She’s got what it takes to excel at both. While the photo explains the former well enough, her devoted following at LAVO, one of the city’s wildest nightclubs, shows that she can make mean drinks all night. Here are her thoughts on sexy drinks and hot parties. 

What cocktail would you make to impress a date?  

Men love when I make them a Sidecar. It’s a sexy looking drink but still manly. Its cognac, triple sec, and fresh lemon juice shaken and strained into a sugar-rimmed martini glass.

Why is LAVO a great date spot?

LAVO Nightclub is a great spot to take a date because you can see some of the biggest DJs in the world  who normally play big arenas, perform in an intimate setting.  And when it gets crowded on the dancefloor, it’s the perfect excuse to get a little closer to your date!

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