Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Spotlight On: New York City’s Hottest Bartender, Jeff Palmiotti

133 No, that’s not an opinion – that’s a fact. Jeff Palmiotti has been named “ New York City’s Hottest Bartender” by Playgirl magazine, and I couldn’t resist an opportunity to chat with him about his new title (and tease him a bit). We took a walk around the Brooklyn Flea and I got to chat a bit with this man –about -town.
Where The Style Things Are: Yay! Jeff! I’m so glad to see you. So you were named New York City’s Hottest Bartender.  I can say I knew you way back when. How did this all come to be?

Jeff: Well, a friend of mine entered me into the contest and I
thought, “Why not?” I kept making the next cut and when it got down to the top 12, I thought, wow, this really could happen and I might have to go nude…and I called my mom. She said, “Do you think you’ll run for President one day?” and I told her no, at which point she said: “Well, Jeffrey, I learned a long time ago this is your journey...".and she gave me the ok.
WTSTA: You’ve been bartending since I’ve known you (since 2004). Did you know you gave me my first Raspberry Stoli gimlet? I wouldn’t drink anything but that for a long time in college.
Jeff: Ha, really?
WTSTA: Yep. What’s your favorite drink?
Jeff: I like Manhattans, but lately it’s been  all shots of Patron and Jameson.
WTSTA: Mmm, Manhattans. Delish. Do you ever get tired of making all those vodka sodas/tonics?
Jeff: No, because the vodka soda people know what they want; they get in and get out. It’s the white chocolate martini drinkers that get me. I’ve been making old-fashioneds a lot at Ten Degrees lately, too.
WTSTA: So you bartend at Ten Degrees in the East Village and Posh in Hell’s Kitchen. I bet you run into a lot of students who stiff you on tips in the EV?
Jeff: No, it’s the foreigners that stiff you. They act like they don’t know. Or it’s those guys that think they’re sticking it to the system – when in reality you’re screwing the person serving you drinks. Sometimes people forget that we make our money almost exclusively in tips.
WTSTA: Any tipping advice from the other side of the bar?
Jeff: Don’t ever leave less than a dollar per drink. I always tip at least $2, but I’m in the industry and I know what it’s like.
WTSTA: Best hangover cure?
Jeff (quickly, and without any hesitation): 2 draft beers. Stellas.
WTSTA: What bars do you like to frequent?
Jeff: I’m so busy that I don’t have a lot of places that I go to regularly – usually there’s always stuff to do and that’s where I go, where the things to do are, or I have my friends come to me at Posh and Ten Degrees. I do like Decibel, this sake bar in the East Village, or Union Pool, or Legion. Also Banjo Jim’s. The Box is always fun  - I like the bizarre, circus aspect of it.
WTSTA: Speaking of which, you are so much more than just “New York City’s Hottest Bartender.” You’re involved in so many things, including The Citizens Band. I am so bummed I missed your last performance! Can you explain a little about what it is?
Jeff: It’s a mix of a cabaret, play, band...performances, dance, trapeze. A bit of everything.
WTSTA: Um, and some pretty rad people are involved – Karen Elson, Nina Persson of The Cardigans, Zoe Kravitz, Rain Phoenix. That’s incredible.
Jeff: Yeah, definitely a magical time with some amazing people.
WTSTA: You’re a musician, heading up the band Jeff Palmiotti and The Hey Rube, and had a song featured in Malan Breton’s SS2010 show (“All I Want Is Spring”). You’re also writing a musical and have a food company, PhysEat, that will be available soon.  So, so busy!
Jeff: It’s great – I love performing in my band. I’m also writing, composing, styling, and directing the group. PhysEat is  food to “feed your physique” – high protein foods for people who workout.
WTSTA: You love to work out – gotta keep that bod hot. I know you box and lift weights to look hot in those stylish clothes I always see you in. How would you describe your personal style?
Jeff (laughs): When I dress up, it’s kind of Bill the Butcher meets the Joker.
WTSTA: Ha, I think it’s polished cool. Classic with a little whimsy. And definitely ahead of the curve – tight tees and jeans before they were cool.
Jeff: But no skinny jeans. Skinny jeans can kiss my ass. You know who looks good in skinny jeans? Hot chicks.
WTSTA: Agreed. Have any advice for guys in New York ready to branch out into something other than khakis and button-downs?
Jeff (lights up): You don’t have to dress exactly like your friends. You don’t have to shop at the same stores…or from the same catalogs (winks). Go with what you like – you’re friends might bust your chops at first, but you’ll be laughing when you’re making out and they're not– girls love it when you try something different. Oh, and polish your shoes! My dad used to polish all  his shoes every week. I still have the first shoe polish kit he ever gave me.
WTSTA: One last question – what do you love about New York?
Jeff: There’s so much opportunity and you can do your own thing with less judgment. There are so many connections to be made here – New York is small. For example, I met designer Malan Breton while checking out a new bar. He sat down next to me at the bar and we got to talking and talked for over an hour. I ran into him a couple more times and he approached me asking me to use my song. That’s what I love about New York – great people doing great things.

Jeff Palmiotti lives in Williamsburg and is “100% single." He’s the front man of the band Jeff Palmiotti and The Hey Rube and bartends Wednesdays at Posh and Thursdays and Sundays at Ten Degrees. He will be bartending this Wednesday at Posh, matching his tips as a donation to The Red Cross. Stop by and see him!

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