The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2013

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Page 140 of 152

The INNOVATOR Erick Castro, Bar Manager/Proprietor , Polite Provisions For many people, Erick Castro is the face of the scene's progressive ways. Not that you can blame them: Overseeing a sleek apothecarystyle bar with a cocktail tap system dispensing barrel-aged drinks will draw that kind of attention. However, Castro didn't enter the profession because he wanted to set the cocktail world ablaze. "My first job was busing tables at a restaurant," he says. "The bartender there was a really cool guy, and I decided I wanted to be like him." This sense of coolness is still the impulse that drives Castro's overarching vision of making sure his venue is the ultimate neighborhood hangout joint. "Tending bar is much more than mixing drinks," he says. "It's mostly about hospitality. We just want people to come in here and have a good time." Polite Provisions' Bar Manager/Proprietor Erick Castro. The LIBERATOR Sheehan McCoy, Wine Director and Bar Manager Vintana , "Let's grab a drink at the Lexus dealership!" Yes, that's a weird phrase. However, the bar program that Sheehan McCoy has built at this unlikely venue ensconced in the sprawling Escondido Lexus building is not just a novelty act. Instead, it serves as a much needed oasis of cocktail sophistication in San Diego's by-the-numbers inland suburbs. "People in this area have wanted something more than what was being offered for a long time," McCoy states. "Because of that, we felt our program needed to be a little more cuttingedge." Even with such interest, McCoy also knows that the area still has a lot to learn about cocktails, which is something he handles gently. "We want to make sure our educational process isn't obvious," he says. "While it's not my job to tell someone that their taste is wrong, it is my job to find out what a customer likes and build up from there." Sheehan McCoy, Wine Director and Bar Manager of Vintana, created a sophisticated bar program within the confines of a suburban Lexus dealership. 140  /  the tasting panel  /  november 2013 TP1113_109-156.indd 140 10/24/13 9:17 AM

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