What motivates Las Vegas star mixologist Douglas Monroe behind the bar is what awaits him at home: his wife, Mykia, and their three children. “Everything I do is for the betterment of my family,” says Monroe, and the driving force that always keeps him “pushing for more.”
That drive has propelled the 31-year-old on an unexpected career trajectory. And, ultimately, a fortuitous one.
Monroe started out in accounting and moved into a warehouse procurement role before finding himself on the receiving end of a layoff in 2014. That very same day, however, Monroe was offered a bartending job. And not just at any bar, but at Bound, the swanky cocktail lounge at The Cromwell Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.
What did he know about bartending? “Nothing,” Monroe admits. That changed in a flash. Working under his mentor, the renowned cocktail “maestro” Salvatore Calabrese, Monroe learned it wasn’t about slinging drinks. “Bound was the best thing to happen to me. It taught me everything; the steps of service, how to treat guests, how to care for the bar and how to craft cocktails.”
Monroe was smitten with the artistry of it all. “The first drink that intrigued me about bartending was an old fashioned. It was cooking and art put together. I call it art in a glass.”
Three years later, Monroe found himself auditioning for bartender at the Cosmopolitan casino-resort. He nailed it. Working under another star of the Vegas strip, then-property mixologist Mariena Mercer Boarini, Monroe upped his game. He became faster, more efficient, and more innovative.
These days, Monroe is the High Limit bartender at Crockfords at the new Resorts World Las Vegas, which had its splashy opening in June. And though it’s been years since Monroe perfected his first old fashioned, he’s still guided by the same principles he learned under Calabrese’s tutelage. A good bartender sets the stage and then recedes into the background. “It’s not about you,” Monroe says, “The guest is the star, and our job is to make them feel better. Good vibes only.”
WHY BARFLY MIXOLOGY GEAR
“The right tools get the job done. They’re incredibly important. It’s no different than a chef using the proper cutlery. Whether it’s a fine strainer or shaking tools, you can’t make a proper cocktail without them. There’s an aesthetic component, too. I especially like Barfly shakers and bitter bottles. They’re not only functional, but they look great on the bar.”