When it comes to making a killer cocktail, Manny Nieves is the go-to man. Not only is it a favorite for his regular patrons at the Wayfarer (Pacifica Hotels) in DTLA, but Nieves also shares his love for cocktails on his Instagram (@manwel).
“I always wanted to cook, but I needed human interaction, so bartending was the best of both worlds,” said Nieves when asked about what inspired him to become a bartender.
Today, Nieves shared with us his ideology on the world of bartending, and also the drinks he’s been loving recently.
According to you, what are some of the most important skills a bartender should have?
First and foremost, I would say that a good bartender needs to keep calm under pressure. Second, I would say being a proficient multitasker is also very important. We do a lot of things at one time, and managing everything is a skill we definitely need to have. And lastly, I would say, a good bartender needs to have THICK, THICK skin.
What's one essential piece of barware that everyone should have at home?
I would say one needs to have a quality shaker set. I still own the first four Koriko shakers I bought 14 years ago!
What are some of your favorite places to drink at when you’re not working?
If we’re talking about a specific place, I would say The Varnish. But other than that, my living room, my living room, my backyard, my front yard. I’ve become more of a homebody lately, and my beautiful fiancée let me build a pretty awesome cocktail bar at home so it’s tough to want more.
Tell us a funny story you’ve heard at the bar.
I’ll tell you a joke.
Sandwich walks into a bar.
Bartenders look him up and down and go “sorry, we don’t serve food”
What has been your most bizarre client request?
Sambuca, Bailey’s, green chartreuse, lime, and coffee liquor lit on fire on the tableside. It was not good, and the person lost some hair.
What are some of your favorite TV shows/movies?
I and the lady have really been digging “The Boys” on Amazon Prime. I’m teaching my daughters about the magic of the Star Wars universe, and have been getting quite mixed results.
What can guests expect from your bar right now?
All of our venues within Pacifica have to some capacity been pumping out food and drink through the whole pandemic, and we constantly keep the highest possible cleaning standards you can expect post-Covid.
What’s the most underrated cocktail ingredient or spirit?
Good citrus, and properly diluted honey syrup.
What are some upcoming drinks trends to look out for?
Espresso-tinis! The trend is here and I’m all for it. I love it!
What are you drinking right now?
Watermelon Red Bull’s, LALO Blanco tequila, Topo Chico seltzer’s, Wild Turkey 101 and soda, Makers Mark and Mr black 50/50s. Any of those make me a happy boy.