Brian Macgregor

The passion that drove the acclaimed mixologist to break into the competitive world of craft cocktails.

Ultimately, I have transformed what was once just a means to make a living into a deep-rooted part of who I am. I have followed my passion, but allowed new opportunities to shape my direction as a bartender in San Francisco.

My father was a bartender and bar owner, my mom and aunt were both waitresses. It’s in my blood to a degree. I was a line cook at the age of 15 in Milwaukee, then moved to waiting tables.

I got my first break as a bartender at one of the few places in the city really working to create a meaningful cocktail program. I started waiting tables and eventually worked my way up to a lot of night shifts.

One day there was a very rare opening on the bartending staff, and Jeff Hollinger reluctantly let me give it a shot. I had no idea what it would turn into. From then on, I took it upon myself to learn as much as possible. I would bring my cocktail book to the bar and work on 2-3 new drinks per night, to start learning my craft. This is where I got a taste for what bartending could mean to me.

Most recently, I made the choice to leave a very stable company to head up a new bar that was unproven and not even fully constructed.

I get total personal gratification from the act of bringing joy to others. This is an immediate pay off that I get every day—being able to make people happy by creating an experience for them.

It certainly isn’t always glamorous or easy, but I love it—and that’s what matters.