Rising Star Mixologist Mo Hodges of Benjamin Cooper - Biography

San Francisco,

May 2016

Before forming the union that birthed Benjamin Cooper, Mo Hodges was a starving artist with a degree in metal sculpture and a bright future as an iconoclast. Brian Felley was working his way up from a hotel bar in Albuquerque to mixing and managing at San Francisco restaurants including Fleur de Lys, Oola, and Garcon.  Hodges, who grew up outside Philadelphia, made the move to San Francisco from Denver, where he’d originally gotten into cocktails as a 23-year-old, post-grad punk, working at spots like Vita, Squeaky Bean, and Tag. He arrived in San Francisco just as Felley was opening tiny bar, Big, on Post Street in 2012. It was creative kismet. The bar was menu-less, and the cocktail inspiration without boundaries. Drinks were inspired by the farmers market and the community of bartenders that formed around Big.Big’s run ended in 2013, with Hodges and Felley moving on to consulting gigs that eventually lead to their next project: slightly bigger and slightly fictitious Benjamin Cooper. Not a historical figure or storied bartender, the name is the joining of their mothers’ maiden names. At hospitality-forward Benjamin Cooper—situated covertly and cooly within Hotel G—the duo mixes a whimsically progressive list of drinks that changes daily. Referring to their menu as weird yet balanced, Hodges and Felley believe that if you like every cocktail on it, then they’re not pushing themselves.