Inside info—like best customer stories and the drinks you should really be ordering—from your six favorite Rochester bartenders (from Rochester Magazine's Best Restaurants voting). Read more in the May 2020 edition of Rochester Magazine. 

Corbin Holmen

Bleu Duck Kitchen


Bartender Corbin holmen at Bleu Duck Kitchen

Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

Years bartending: 5 (1 at Bleu Duck)

Favorite drink to make: ”Whatever the guest likes the most.”

Favorite drink to drink: ”Currently, it’s a Last Word (a classic cocktail made with gin, green Chartreuse, Luxardo maraschino, and lime juice).”

Memorable behind-the-bar story: ”One that I’ll never forget is when I first started bartending at Newt’s. A guest would come in whose wife was in the hospital, so he was staying in a nearby hotel for 6 to 9 months. He would come in every night to get his mind off things, and it was a cool relationship to build—to be the person who helps him take his mind off things.”

Josh Kral

Bitter & Pour

Josh Kral, bartender at Bitter and Pour

Post Bulletin file photo

Years bartending: 17 (3+ years at Bitter & Pour)

Favorite drink to make: “The next one. I’m always looking for the next new and exciting creation. I like playing with things I’ve never seen before, like a new fruit or herb or spice. The less I know about it, the more interested I am.”

Favorite drink to drink: ”If I had a gun to my head and had to choose a drink I had to drink for the rest of my life, it’d be a negroni—a classic, gin-based cocktail.”

Memorable behind-the-bar story: “Bartending in this city for as long as I have, you just never know who is going to walk up on the other side of the bar. There’s been a lot of celebrities—kings and queens, Sean Connery, Tom Brokaw, some Vikings legends. It’s always cool seeing people like that.”

Jess Sorensen

Eagles Club

Jess sorenson

Ken Klotzbach / Image Conscious Photography

Years bartending: 17 (12 years at the Eagles Club)

Favorite drink to make: “We’re such a beer and mixed drink place, but I do appreciate making a good Old Fashioned.”

Favorite drink to drink: “I’m a Michelob Ultra-with-a-lemon girl. I learned that back in the day from the Break Room girls (which was where Pappy’s is now.)”

Memorable behind-the-bar story: “We had the Eagles State Convention in 2014, and a lady wrote a note and left it for me after the convention. She wrote, ‘I am 72 years old and you’re the best bartender I’ve ever seen in my life.’ I don’t know who it was from, because people came from all over the state, but I still have it. And, oh my gosh, it means a lot.”

Read more best-kept secrets from Rochester's favorite bartenders in Rochester Magazine.