Behind the Bartender: Mary Bartlett of Honeycut

Not only is she great at breaking phones, she’s also quite the make-out expert

Compared to previous “Behind the Bartender” subjects, Honeycut’s Assistant General Manager Mary Bartlett is brand-spanking-new to the Los Angeles cocktail scene. She hails from Portland where she was doing amazing things behind the stick at the Teardrop Lounge, Rum Club, and Park Kitchen. But then she moved down here to help open up Proprietors LLC and 213 Nightlife’s downtown cocktail lounge/disco where she’s attracting new fans with her skills for over two years. Just check out her and Dave Fernie’s new menu at Honeycut’s Deep End bar.

Their style of cocktails is fun and easy-drinking but with intriguing, complex flavors. Key for a high-volume venue like Honeycut where the crowds are massive but cocktail-savvy.

I had a chance to ask her some questions as part of our recurring Q&A series with L.A. bartenders. Here are her quick answers.

What’s a popular drink at your bar?
In the Deep End, everyone’s drinking the Basic Space. It’s a really fancy Sex on the Beach with clarified juices and hibiscus tea. It’s juicy and super crushable.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I usually start with one flavor combination I really like and then build it out from there. I think of drinks the same way I think of food. I make a balanced dish or drink and then figure out what will make it interesting and compelling.

What’s the best night to go to your bar and why?
Thursday for sure! Both rooms are open but it’s not as crazy as the weekend so you can really get down on the dance floor. I love bouncing back and forth between the Deep End and the disco. And it’s impossible not to dance when Dave Fernie is DJing. That boy can really diddle the decks, ya know?

The next big thing in cocktails is __________?
Restraint, I hope! That might sound a little hypocritical coming from someone running a freaky glow-worm cocktail bar but I think it’s more important to dial in the cocktails people commonly order before getting too wiley on the list.

What’s your hidden talent?
Breaking cell phone screens and making out. A lot of people think they’re good at making out because people tell them that, but for me it’s true. I’m blessed. Except with cell phones.

Where do you like to drink in L.A.?
I like to drink martinis at Morton’s, Mojitos at the Varnish, and Cosmos literally anywhere.

Where’s your favorite place to eat in L.A.?
Madcapra! Everything’s amazing but ordering the ‘Go Big’ with a friend is a recipe for success.

What do you like to drink when you’re not working?
Wine! I’d give up cocktails before I gave up wine. Thankfully for all us hedonists, we can have it all!