Rising Star Bartender Joe Robinson of Standby - Biography

Detroit, MI

November 2016

Joe Robinson was just a kid when he started bussing tables and working the dish pit at a neighborhood joint in his home town of Clarkston, Michigan. A penchant for hard work and a blossoming love for hospitality eventually led Robinson to a bartending gig at Roast, Michael Symon’s transformative restaurant at Detroit’s Westin Hotel. There, Robinson met his mentor Travis Fourmont, a Portland, Oregon, expat who was instrumental in developing a craft cocktail culture in Detroit. 

The two partnered to found cocktail consultancy Bailout Productions, preaching the good news of modern mixology. Together, Robinson and Fourmont hosted the Whiskey Rebellion, Detroit’s first cocktail pop up. The project was met with instant success, and Robinson began to realize that his dream of opening a bar would soon be a reality. 

Robinson spent the next year buried in bar books and soaking up inspiration from high concept establishments like Booker and Dax and Employees Only in New York. In 2015, he partnered with Anthony Curis and David Goldman to open Standby, a lively cocktail bar focused on innovative techniques and old classics. A year later, those same techniques won him a 2016 StarChefs Rising Star Award.