The Nice Guy Los Angeles
By Christina-Lauren Pollack | Photos by Lindsey Childs
Hailing from Boston, and now living in Los Angeles, mixologist Kris Doyle is the man behind the bar at L.A. hotspot The Nice Guy. While he didn’t plan to get into the food-and-beverage industry, he happened to fall into it. Growing up, his sister owned a restaurant, so he spent time working a number of jobs there, starting as a dishwasher. After college, he headed west to California, ending up in Santa Barbara, leading to a short stint as a barback. He quickly learned that he had a passion for creating cocktails and working in hospitality.
Whether it was fate or a stroke of luck, he ended up training under notable Los Angeles barman Vincenzo Marianella, who is known as “The Godfather of Cocktails.” Marianella educated him about the art of making “the perfect cocktail” and taught him valuable techniques.
After working in Pasadena at a restaurant for two years, he went on to The Nice Guy, and has been there for three years. Doyle has consistently strived to perfect his craft, spending hours creatively coming up drinks that would entice and delight clients. He’s always believed in “giving 100% effort” and trying to please the customer, “even if they’re having a bad day.” His passion, commitment to excellence, and easy-going attitude lend to his credibility as more than just a nice guy.
Run by owners John Terzian, Brian Toll, and Adam Koral of the h.wood.group (which owns several popular venues in Los Angeles including Delilah, Blind Dragon, and Bootsy Bellows), The Nice Guy excels at catering to high-net worth and celebrity clientele, by creating an expansive cocktail & food program, and designing beautifully-appointed, stylish venues. Since hospitality is the main priority for the growth and sustainability of their business, it’s no wonder that Doyle devotes his energy to ensuring that their clients “always have a good time.”
Doyle says, “I really like making connections with people and believe hospitality is an art form. I love what I do, because I’m able to talk to interesting people and be creative. Hospitality is about reading the guest; it’s a balance between figuring out what they want and providing great service.”
Signature drink of the moment?
I really like the A Mo’s Paloma at The Nice Guy. It’s a well-balanced, refreshing, grapefruit-flavored drink that has a little bitterness (which makes it unique). It contains Herradura Reposado Tequila, Campari, Giffard Pamplemousse Liqueur and lemon.
Fave current cocktail trend?
The way cocktails are being made is different in recent years. I’ve seen airstream vehicles that have cocktails on draft (which are pre-made cocktails, stored in a keg with a CO2). I like to see cocktails coming out perfect, but quick.
Biggest bar behavior pet peeve?
My philosophy is about catering to the client’s wants and entertaining them. If someone is having a bad day, I try to turn it around. I don’t take things personally, as my goal is to help our clients have fun. If you can entertain and give them a good time, you make the clients happy and encourage them to come back. I like to get drinks out quickly, to ensure that guests have a good time. It helps us when clients order for their entire group at once. That level of etiquette enables us to get drinks out faster.
Fave atypical ingredient?
I like to use Amaro, which is an Italian liqueur made with herbs and brut. While it’s not atypical, I think it should be used more often in cocktails, as it’s a top quality ingredient.
Preferred home cocktail?
I like Scotch on the rocks. It’s slightly sweet, goes down nicely, and is a good cocktail to have with the guys.
Best advice to give to an up-and-coming bartender?
Work hard, focus on making perfect cocktails, be passionate, and have a sense of perfection about your work. Always treat the guests well, even if they’re having a bad day. While you’re working, give 100 percent of your effort.
What’s your favorite movie?
That’s like asking someone what their favorite drink is. It depends on the mood, who you’re with, and even the season. >
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