Photo Credit: Jake Davenport

Jake Davenport is Las Vegas. Before making it here, this skateboarder/punk rock/Kansas native, spent a decade in Florida honing his hospitality skills. Jake has been behind the stick in various roles for over 17 years and has worked in a plethora of venue types from casino resort, pool, lounge, casual all the way to fine dining. After landing in Las Vegas to continue his bartending journey, here is where he found a home. Luckily for us, he is now lending his beverage prowess to the delicious and iconic Pizzeria Monzú where you can find him nightly. Go see him soon and raise a glass! 

Salute! 

What do you love about the food and beverage industry and about bartending?

Making people happy is at the core of it. It’s all about the hospitality. 

What is your role at Monzú and please describe Monzú for the reader?

I handle all things beverage and a bunch of other stuff at Monzú. 

Pizzeria Monzú is a fantastic way to experience authentic traditional Sicilian food. We have a unique wine list that is exclusively Italian with small independent producers and loads of indigenous varietals. Extensive selection of Amari as well. We also have live entertainment. 

How has the crisis affected business and what are you doing creatively to stay viable economically?

I was hired post-Quarantine so I can only speculate the details of the transition. However, from the looks of things, it has been an opportunity to explore alternative ways to enhance guest experience. The creativity has been in no short supply. We have had the fortune of Chef Nicole Brisson collaborating with chef Gio on our Chef’s tasting menus. These are a big hit, a four-course meal where you get to choose options for each course. Desserts designed by Nick Forte, who is an amazing pastry chef. Only $49 and add a wine pairing that is only $35!

Along with a bartending, cocktail, beer and spirit experience, you have an excellent wine background; please tell me about what you are excited about on your list. 

We just added this white wine that is very interesting—Guiseppe Roagna Favorita—a fresh floral fun wine with a touch of effervescence. For red all things Etna Rosso. A fascinating region in eastern Sicily, that is on an active volcano. We have a few Etna options on our list; Tenute San Lorenzo “Campore” is one I am fond of. Come in and have it with our Porchetta!

How do you keep yourself educated?

For alcohol, books and friends. I read a book, take some notes, grab another book. Right now, I am reading The Mixellany Guide to Vermouth & Other Aperitifs.

For my non-alcohol studies, I like YouTube and PBS Digital Studios has some amazing content for history, philosophy, cosmology
and biology. They have more but for those subjects they do
exceptionally well. 

Who are the people that you look up to in the industry?

No one. But to be fair, I don’t look down on anyone in the industry either. I find the concept of a role model unappealing. That being said, there are so many people that have educated and inspired me. So, let’s give a shout out to some great authors in the beverage industry: Tony Abu Ganim, Karen McNeil, Amy Stuart, Garret Oliver, John Gauntner, David Wondrich, Kevin Zraly and Michael Jackson.

How long have you been in USBG and what are some of its benefits? 

I joined in 2013. I love the events and the social range it offers. I have learned so much from the seminars and events. I’ve had the chance to taste things I never knew would have existed and have friends that will remain for a long time.

What inspires you outside of food and beverage? 

Advancements in technology and stuff like that. So many amazing advancements lately. We just figured out how anesthesia works, after using it for 200 years. I get a big kick out of that.