StarChefs Sylk Cream Liqueur Mixologist
Astral Plane | Philadelphia, PA
Joel Finsel was practically raised in a bar.
Growing up, his parents owned and ran a pub in the Poconos. Finsel
was often found spending much of his afterschool time on barstools,
playing video games. The bar’s energetic vibe left a strong
impression on him, and today, the bar scene at Astral Plane continues
to fuel Finsel with creative energy.
At age 18, as soon as he turned of legal
serving age, Finsel enrolled in a bartending course during his college
winter recess. Here, Finsel created cocktails with mock ingredients,
learned bar tricks and random useless bar trivia, such as how the
Tanqueray bottle takes its shape from an English fire hydrant. Shortly
thereafter, he was offered a bartending job at the Banker’s
Club, a local converted bank-turned nightclub in his hometown. Finsel
worked there for the next five years and was eventually promoted
to bar manager.
After graduating from Kutztown University
last December and having had enough of small town life, Finsel moved
to Philadelphia. Six months later, when Astral Plane’s bartender
of 27 years left the establishment, owner Reed Apaghian offered
Finsel the job. Though Finsel had some tough shoes to fill, he fit
right in with the bar’s laid-back atmosphere and personable
clientele. Apaghian and Finsel have a strong mutual respect, and
Finsel relishes the opportunity to experiment with cocktails behind
With interesting people frequently adorning
his bar stools, making conversation and giving him feedback on his
latest concoctions, Finsel has found the perfect venue to showcase
his talents and have fun. When not at Astral Plane, Finsel is writing
and publishing a science-fiction/adventure book and spending time
with his fiancé, Jessica and their little black dog.