Rising Star Bartender Donavan Mitchem of MONEYGUN - Biography

Chicago, IL

September 2021

Donavan Mitchem’s hospitality career started at TGI Fridays as he worked to finance his political science degree at George Washington University. Serving wasn’t his thing, so Mitchem’s manager told him that he could either try bartending or quit. Mitchem accepted the bartending position and never looked back. He returned to his hometown of Chicago in 2011 during its cocktail renaissance and fell in love with barbacking at The Pump Room. He continued to work his way around the city’s cocktail scene at spots like Drumbar, Celeste, and The Bedford.

In 2017, Mitchem became beverage director at no-frills MONEYGUN and its sister restaurant, Lou’s Backyard. He spearheads MONEYGUN Charity Club, a program that supports a rotating list of nonprofit initiatives through monthly cocktail specials. One cause especially close to Mitchem’s heart is Causing A Stir, a Chicago-based organization that aims to expand access and opportunities to marginalized groups in the bartending industry. In addition to riffing on classic cocktails, Mitchem curates vibey, ’90s hip-hop playlists and establishes MONEYGUN as the unofficial heartbeat of the West Loop industry scene.