Bartender | Bar Consultant | Photographer | Mentor
Working in the restaurant and bar business since he was 15, Stephen's real passion started after his first bar shift in 2004. It was at this time that he was introduced to cocktail bitters, a key bar ingredient, which would fascinate and continually inspire him to learn the trade. Tinkering at home and in bars, Stephen has developed a portfolio of cocktail bitter recipes, a myriad of tinctures, syrups, drams, sodas, and many other hand made concoctions that give his cocktails distinct flavor. Passionate about the classics, mindful of their simplicity, elegance, and restraint, he apples these methods to the modern cocktail.
Currently, you can find Stephen running the bar programs for George’s at the Cove in La Jolla, California, where he holds the title of head Bar Man and Director of Spirits and Beer. He oversees the creative direction of the cocktail menu, choosing to create a sandbox that allows others to contribute to the menu curation, and finds opportunities to mentor those that work under his leadership, as well as assist those bar professionals in furthering their knowledge and influence. In his spare time, Stephen currently consults for Nórtico, a first of it’s kind, pre-prohibition speakeasy bar in Tijuana, Mexico and Galaxy Taco in La Jolla Shores. Stephen also works hard to bring national attention to the San Diego bar community, contributes to the local chapter of the USBG, and plans one of a kind guest bartending events both in San Diego and Mexico.
Outside of his duties in San Diego, Stephen has taken his talents to such exotic destinations such as Cabo San Lucas, Mexico City, San Francisco, Laguna Beach, New York City, and Palm Springs for guest shifts and special bar events. Outside of bars, Stephen is also a trained musician, yoga practitioner, and an occasional sailor.
Photo Cred: Alrene Ibarra