Behind the Bartender: Dave Kupchinsky of The Eveleigh

A conversation with the drink shaman of the Sunset Strip

The Eveleigh’s Dave Kupchinsky doesn’t talk much—so, when he does, responses from his audience usually move from a gasp to cries of, “Ohhh.” Kupchinsy is not a spotlight-seeking bartender, nor is he a glad-hander, despite working in a Sunset Strip restaurant. Because of this, he may come across as grumpy. (By the way, I don’t have any photos of him where he doesn’t look stern. He’s just that kind of guy.)

But Dave (or D-Kup to his friends) is admired by his peers and appreciated by his patrons, and also sports a resume featuring cocktail-serious joints such as the Tar Pit and Comme Ca. He tries to downplay what he does at the Eveleigh with admissions like, “I don’t feel like I do anything very innovative or special. I’m going to use what’s in season, what’s fresh and what’s good and then I’m going to use that to tweak a classic cocktail.” But he makes one of the meanest Mint Juleps in the city and can turn a cocktail into an everlasting gobstopper of flavors by layering just four ingredients.

Needless to say the fact that he has made this bar, on clubby Redbull-and-vodka row in West Hollywood,  the destination for cocktail geeks and industry folk speaks volumes.

We asked him some quick questions, as part of our recurring Q&A series with L.A. bartenders. Here are his very quick answers.

What’s a popular drink at your bar?

Blood orange Negroni on draught.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Re-envisioned classics.

What’s the best night to go to your bar and why?

Wednesday or Thursday, we have nice crowds but it’s not overly crowded like Friday or Saturday. So we can give guests a little extra attention.

The next big thing in cocktails is_____?

I’m not sure, I’m still trying to read all the old books.

What’s your hidden talent?

I’m an awesome beat boxer.

Where do you like to drink in L.A.?

I like to drink at Goldie’s or Cana Rum Bar.

Where’s your favorite place to eat in L.A.?

I like to eat at the Tasting Kitchen.

What do you like to drink when you’re not working (doesn’t have to be cocktails)?

When I’m off and out I like to drink scotch, mezcal or aperitivo style cocktails. At home I like to drink beer.

The Eveleigh: 8752 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 424-239-1630.