Best of Philly

Best Bartender

2017 BEST Bar Staff

Watkins Drinkery

Refreshing: Their friendly smiles aren’t motivated by tips.

1712 South 10th Street, Philadelphia, PA | 215-339-0175 | Website

2015 BEST Bartender

Jesse Cornell at Vesper

223 South Sydenham Street, Philadelphia, PA

Jesse is quick behind the oak. He can execute the classics with aplomb (and without excessive tinkering). And if you put him on the spot, he’s got the rare talent to whip up something off the top of his head that’s so good, it deserves its own award. Read more »

2013 BEST Bartender

Kevin James Holland

229 South 45th Street, Philadelphia, PA

Holland is perhaps the only bartender in the world who can craft a perfect martini or manhattan, strum a banjo (check out his bluegrass outfit, the Citywide Specials), and wax philosophic (but not pretentiously) about the issues of the day. Find him and his flourishing mustache behind the bar at Fiume, his tiny, phone-less bar… Read more »

2012 BEST Bartender

George Costa

1946 Lombard Street, Philadelphia, PA

Standing behind the long oak at Pub and Kitchen, Costa has the three talents every great bartender needs: He makes a classic drink to your exact specifications, he shakes up a custom cocktail like nothing you’ve ever tried before, and he knows more about bitters and rye than you do about your own children. Read more »

2010 BEST Bartender

John Doyle

1310 Drury Street, Philadelphia, PA

Imagine a sweet old grandpa. Now imagine that sweet old grandpa pouring you a pint of Stoudt’s while telling a dirty joke from behind a 150-year-old bar. Head over to McGillin’s on a Friday night and you’ll find just such a gent: the delightful John Doyle, who’s been behind the stick at Philly’s oldest bar… Read more »

2009 BEST Bartender

Jos Pistola’s

263 South 15th Street, Philadelphia, PA

So many bartenders seem to find it difficult just to simultaneously smile and pour your drink. But this co-owner and weekend bartender (not to mention lead singer in ’80s glam-rock tribute band Welcome to My Face) gets you good and drunk while keeping you thoroughly entertained via bar tricks, dirty jokes, current-event commentary, astute sports… Read more »