Famed advocate of bartender wellness Giuseppe González talks to Laura Foster about Las Vegas, the Incredible Hulk and wanting to be Jamaican
'I studied three majors at university. I was bored and didn’t know what I wanted to do.'
'When UK bartenders find out how much I earn in a shift, they look at me like I’m a piece of shit. God bless the USA.'
'I fucking love Vegas. This city is built to be the playground of the world. There’s nothing that is not possible.'
'If you were to look city versus city, London’s bars beat New York’s. But if you’re asking America versus the UK, then America kicks the UK’s ass.'
'If I was to come back as anything I would be a Jamaican. They have a really poetic way of saying things.'
'I used to be 120lbs heavier, but I’m sober now, so I usually run between 5 to 10 miles a day. If I can’t run, I go to the gym and I do yoga once or twice a week. I think every bartender should do yoga or pilates for the wear and tear of the body.'
'I have a fear of heights and a fear of water. I almost drowned when I was a kid.'
'I grew up loving comics. My favourite comic was always the Hulk. I liked the idea that with the power of his rage he became unstoppable.'
'I think I’m the only person that’s worked with Sasha Petraske, Julie Reiner and Audrey Saunders.'
'It always amazes me when bars don’t have a really good coffee service. Going to a super cocktail nerd bar and asking for a double espresso and being told, ‘No, but we have a coconut, fat-washed bacon bourbon!’ And you guys don’t have a coffee pot? The irony.'
'I grew up in the South Bronx during the 1980s when it was literally the most dangerous neighbourhood in America. It looked like a war zone.'
'I spend a lot of time thinking about finding more meaning in my life, rather than finding more happiness.'
'The New York City library is my favourite place on earth. It was the only place that I was allowed to go without my parents.'
'I spraypaint my own sneakers. Only homies from the Bronx would understand that shit. Giving Kanye $300? Get the fuck out! You could do that with a marker and make that shit cooler.'
Guiseppe González's CV
1994-2000 Studies neuroscience, Spanish literature
and psychology at Cornell University
2000-2003 Works various restaurant jobs
2003-2004 Bartender in Radius restaurant, Boston
2004-2006 Head bartender at Flatiron Lounge, New York
2006-2009 Head bartender at Clover Club, New York
2010 Head bartender at Dutch Kills, New York
2010-2012 Opens first bar, Painkiller, New York
2013 Bartender at Mother’s Ruin, New York
2014-2016 Bartender at Pegu Club, New York
2016-2018 Opens Suffolk Arms, New York
2018 Bartender, Herbs & Rye; Cleaver, Las Vegas