Bartender Spirits Awards

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Paula Lukas

Paula was born in New York City and although she moved to New Jersey when she was young her heart was always in New York and she would go to the city as often as she could. She moved back in the 80’s (the decade of excess!) which was an incredibly exciting time for her in New York. Paula began performing in musical theatre when she was a young girl and believes her love of performing and creativity were assets to her restaurant
positions. The bar is her stage!


The hospitality business has changed quite a lot since Paula first started when Sex on the Beach and Woo Woos were the drink of choice! She worked as a cocktail waitress and bartender at several Irish pubs and nightclubs as well as at Lily’s at the Roger Smith Hotel where she met customers from all over the world and really learned her way around the bar. At Upper East Side restaurants 92 and Spigolo Paula was promoted to head bartender and
bar manager and was able to use her love of spirits and creativity to curate several successful cocktail menus. She also helped recreate dive bar Barramundi on the Lower East Side into a successful cocktail bar.

A few years ago Paula entered her first cocktail competition and was chosen as a national finalist for Rhuby Liqueur Pink Your Drink, She has also competed in the Queen Bee Cocktail classic and was a Northeast Regional semi finalist in The Copper and Kings Mixtape Competition. She was an international judge at The Rhuby Liqueur Pink Your Drink global final in Sweden and also judged The Marie Brizard Masters here in New York. Paula has traveled extensively and loves to meet bartenders from other countries and trade recipes and industry tips.

Paula was chosen as one of Chilled Magazine’s featured mixologists and her cocktails have been in the New York Post, Huffington Post, Food and Wine, Drinkwire.liquor.com and Gotham Magazine. She also has been featured in The Bartending Masters, Featured Eats NYC and Bartend.com

Paula is currently Bar Manager and Head Bartender at Nur. A modern Middle Eastern Restaurant which has received much critical acclaim. She’s been able to use her creative flair as well as access to the restaurants wide array of spices and herbs to create a variety of specialty cocktails. She also teaches private home cocktail classes, has worked as a consultant and is an active member of the United States Bartenders Guild of New York. She loves the hospitality industry and feels very lucky to be a part of it.

Judges

John Giorgio

Director of Food & Beverage, Hyatt Regency Vineyard Creek Hotel, California

Matthew Talbert

Bar Director & Assistant General Manager, Scomas Restaurant Inc, San Francisco