We had a dream last night about Water Grill’s Beverage Director, Kevin Felker. Yeah, we were at this dive bar dancing and double fisting smooth cocktails, bouncing our heads back n’ forth while the DJ was spinning Wicked Games on repeat. He was behind the bar and made the best drinks in the joint and ….well then we woke up and realized it wasn’t real and we’d never be able to double-fist Kevin’s smooth cocktails in real life…
Insert > Water Grill in Costa Mesa, the latest and greatest restaurant from the King’s Seafood portfolio of delicious dining. Its location is perfection – kitty-corner from South Coast Plaza mall and high-power high-rises, making it the new wind-down from-the-hustle watering hole for the suits and shoppers.
Behind the bar our dreams were coming true as Kevin Felker was masterly crafting the new seasonal cocktails for Water Grill’s dazzling cocktail menu. As we graciously bellied up to the copper bar that was straight out of a Steampunk wonderland, Felker was shaking and stirring, setting drinks on fire, muddling farm-fresh ingredients and measuring pours like a mad scientist. We were double-fisting in no time with a bevy of cocktails that had us hearing echoes of our mom reprimanding us “Don’t ever mix your alcohol!”
Oops! We definitely won’t be bringing Felker home to Mom. He had us delighting in tequila cocktails, gin cocktails, vodka cocktails, and whiskey cocktails. Don’t worry, we still stood pretty on the way out to our Uber, and our tummies were full from the incredible culinary fare of fresh seafood from Water Grill’s vibrant menu that paired seamlessly with our cocktails.
With all the love on the cocktails and the mad respect we had for Kevin’s masterful bar skills, we had to interrupt the flow by asking him our signature 28 quirky questions because buzzed, inquiring minds want to know….
- Hometown: Bronx, New York
- What was your first bartending job? Idlewild, a bar in New York
- First cocktail you learned to make? Gin Gimlet
- Favorite Vacation spot? Hawaii
- Best advice you ever received? “Don’t try and educate your guest.”
- A notable Mentor you’ve had: Charlie Palmer
- Which do you prefer? Bartender or Mixologist? Bartender
- TV show you are currently hooked on? Prefer reading than watching TV
- Favorite Emoji? Thinking face, Cringe teeth face, Wink with tongue
- Your Karaoke song? I don’t have one
- Drink of choice? Negroni
- Surprising item in your fridge? always have a bottle of Sriracha
- Unique cocktail ingredient you are into right now? Aperol
- Cocktail you would never drink? Long Island Iced Tea
- Favorite Midnight snack? PB+J with honey
- Favorite Shot: whisky – rye or bourbon
- What’s the biggest bar tab you’ve ever seen? $2,000
- What are your favorite places outside Water Grill for cocktails? I like a good dive bar
- Favorite Dive Bar: Niagara NYC – back in the day they had Sad Song Mondays and the DJ would just play sad songs.
- #1 mistake people make when crafting a cocktail: technique – shaking drinks that should not be shaken. Gin martinis, Manhattans, Negronis should not be shaken.
- Tap or bottled beer? Tap
- Your Favorite Sports Team: Don’t have one
- Have you ever been tipped with something other than cash? no
- Favorite phone app: Amazon music
- If Water Grill had a live band tonight, who would you want to craft drinks for? The Ramones
- Next Big Trend in Cocktails: good, fresh ingredients, good products, ice, back to basics, no trends.
- Biggest Pet Peeve at the Bar: when I see a bar with bad, limp, wilted ingredients. Your ingredients should look fresh and beautiful. Also not keeping things organized and clean behind the bar is my biggest pet peeve.
- An important lesson you’ve learned as a Bartender: You can’t ever think you know it all. There’s a lot more to learn. Look to the young blood, new generation of bartenders.
Water Grill is located at 3300 Bristol Street, Costa Mesa, CA (949) 208-7060