Bartender Stacey Swenson of Dante - Biography

Cambridge, MA

January 2019

Stacey Swenson began bartending while attending college in her home state of Iowa. She continued working behind the bar when she moved to Chicago in her early 20s, but left to work as a cocktail server at a high-paying steakhouse. Feeling creatively stifled, she moved to New York City to absorb the growing cocktail culture and develop her skills. She first landed at American Whiskey, a high-volume, single spirit-focused bar near Madison Square Garden with a collection of more than 375 bottles. She then moved to Booker & Dax, the legendary experimental cocktail bar helmed by Dave Arnold.

 

In early 2016, Swenson joined the team at Naren Young’s Dante, a modern Italian bar and restaurant, where she took over as head bartender just a few months into her tenure. Her low-ABV cocktails and Negroni riffs won a loyal following in the industry and the West Village. After a year and a half, Swenson took the reigns of Dante at Genuine, a pop-up collaboration between AvroKo Hospitality and Dante. Over the past few years, Swenson has helped run dozens of pop-ups and events all over the world for the brand.

 

Swenson’s drinks have a professional wink, but never at the expense of accessibility—like her sangria with local Amaro and pomegranate vinegar. Beyond her bar, Swenson flexes her cocktail guns and applies her unpretentious style and expertise with Erick Castro and Chris Patino’s Simple Serve consulting group, where she heads up creative drinks strategy.