Jason Kosmas of Employees Only
510 Hudson St.
New York, NY 10014
Needing money to pay for art school, Jason Kosmas found work at The Old Bay in New Brunswick, NJ. At the time considered the largest “small blues house” on the North East Coast, the Old Bay served up Cajun cuisine with Creole cocktails. "I was hired originally as a bar back. The bartenders were mostly grad students working their way through college. They would have me make all the drinks so they could study.”
Jason quickly became a bartender just as the vodka scene broke open. The martini was on the rise, and Jason became more and more an enthusiast of the cocktail. Realizing that mixology was lost in a college town, Jason followed his passion for drink-making to Manhattan in 1998. He was first hired at the famed Tavern on the Green in Central Park where he disciplined himself in the subtle art of classic mixology. He next moved on to work at one of New York's most innovative cocktail bars, Pravda located on the edge of Soho. The trendy cocktail lounge was the perfect compliment for Jason's classic approach toward mixology. He combined traditional technique with exotic ingredients to shape a new path in cocktail making.
In October of 1999 he received 1st Place in the Independent Cocktail Awards sponsored by Food and Wine Magazine. After two years in the trenches, he was promoted to Bar Manager at Pravda. Jason molded his position to that of a "cocktail chef." He researched ingredients that were previously foreign to the bar and incorporated them into Pravda's cocktail menu. In July of 2001 Pravda was recognized by Timeout as the "Best Martini Bar" in New York City. Even while Jason managed Pravda, he still worked regularly behind the bar.
"I enjoy mixing cocktails. It is ever changing and exciting. You must keep your finger on the pulse to stay ahead of what's going on.” After 3½ years, Jason retired from managing to form Cocktail Conceptions, a beverage consulting company that has worked with restaurants such as Schiller’s Liquor Bar and companies such as Absolute Vodka.
In late 2004, Jason became principle bartender and co-owner of Employees Only, a retro-classic speakeasy in the West Village specializing in deftly mixed cocktails with old-school flair.