Rising Star Bartender Sophia Kim of Longoven - Biography

Richmond, VA

March 2022

From the age of 3, Sophia Kim grew up in suburban Centreville, Virginia. It wasn’t until her first year at James Madison University that she visited Richmond. Be it the bike rides around the city, the architecture, or the food—Kim had a gut feeling that she needed to live there. So two years later, she transferred to the social justice department at Virginia Commonwealth University and picked up a job at sushi/party bar Sticky Rice to subsidize the move. It took her four years of rolling sushi before she was promoted to bartender, quickly mastering the speed needed to keep up with the thirsty crowd.

After stints at Lamplighter Coffee Roasters and Cous Cous, Kim landed at Mamma Zu, where she jumped between pouring wine and stretching pizza dough. Her next job at Dinamo brought her back behind the bar, even if their drink menu was limited to only a few cocktails. Inspired to create her own drinks, Kim approached Michelle Shriver, owner of the well-revered bar, Dutch & Company, for a job. Striver took a chance on her, hiring Kim and training her on the fundamentals of cocktail-building. In 2018, Kim moved over to Saison where, for the next three years, she was able to menu drinks of her own. But when the COVID-19 pandemic left her furloughed and unsure of her next move, Kim received an offer she couldn’t refuse: A bar manager position at the seasonal fine dining restaurant, Longoven. Now as bar and general manager, Kim is a progressive leader within her team and throughout the Richmond beverage community. In addition to being the treasurer for the Richmond Chapter of the United States Bartenders’ Guild, Kim is a founding member of the local Safe Bars chapter, facilitating workshops to educate restaurant industry workers in sexual assault prevention.