One of the great things about bartending is that it brings together a cadré of people that are passionate, unique and love what they do. Many of us would rather not grow up, but instead prefer to grow our souls. One person that fits this unconventional mold is Carlos Valdes. Carlos just joined our USBG chapter this May and said this about it, “I’m excited to be part of a community that is just as ambitious towards the craft as me!” Like many of us bartenders, this Las Vegas native is committed to learning more and expanding his palate (while having the benefits of making money and merry!). He looks up to “all the folks that have been doing this for years and still maintain the love for the craft.” You can see him driving around Chinatown in his vintage black El Camino and devilishly delightful mustache, or sipping on a Paloma. He enjoys crafting a perfect Suffering Bastard cocktail when he is behind the bar, but also likes to create on Black Velvet when not behind the stick. Carlos is a dark horse with a light heart, and can be found performing his craft at The Golden Tiki in Chinatown.
“Bartending is an extension of the passion and soul behind the hands creating it; there should be a sense of enthusiasm for it to be seen as an art that way.”
Chinatown is full of amazing bartenders that are working hard to continue elevating the area. Alannah Bilan is one of them. Don't let her age fool you as she is a rock star with a wealth of creativity, knowledge and passion for the industry. You will be seeing a lot of big things from her for years to come.
Where do you work?
I have found a home at Sparrow + Wolf in Chinatown Las Vegas. Sending my resume to John Anthony was an amazing decision! Chef Brian and the entire crew have created a space where passion and curiosity can run wild through us all. I am honored to be on a team with individuals who inspire me every day.
How did you get into bartending?
I've wanted to be a bartender for as long as I can remember. At first I thought it would be a really fun job to have while putting myself through college or something, but I soon realized it was the career path for me. As my knowledge and experience increases, my desire to immerse myself in the industry increases as well. I started at Miller's Ale House in Town Square as a hostess as soon as I turned 18. Once I was 21, I began serving while working at Yard House and transferred in to the bar a few months later.
What advice would your current self give your self from 5 years ago?
If I could talk to my "five years ago" self, I would tell her to get in the habit of learning something new every day. Whether it is a classic cocktail recipe, discovering the distillation process of spirits, etc. There is a ton of information and with the rate of growth in this industry, there will always be more to learn. I love that product knowledge can create conversation starters and enhance the experience for guests, as well as yourself.
When did you join the USBG and what are your favorite things about being a member?
I joined the USBG in January, 2019. Honestly I can't believe I waited so long to do so! When you join the USBG, you get integrated into the family. There has been an amazing group created where you can share ideas and learn from like-minded individuals. There are events and competitions being held constantly as well. My boyfriend and I really enjoy being active in the USBG community together. It is a great way to meet new friends and spark creativity!