Best Of 2015

Best Brainy Bartender: BRIAN MULAY, GWR at STATION HOUSE

Best Brainy Bartender

Opening a speakeasy ain’t easy. No one since Ciro’s has managed to pull off the exact combination of clandestine atmosphere and classic cocktails that turn an ordinary room into something seductive. Until, that is, the folks at Station House St. Pete came along. GWR (God’s Waiting Room) is a dark, intimate back room that taps into the restaurant’s already cozy underground feel without the pretensions of passwords or secret doors. And the real draw is the expertise of the bartending staff, none more enlightening than Brian Mulay, a quiet crusader of a mixologist who likes to turn vodka lovers into gin lovers, patiently explains the thinking behind cocktails like the Bathtub Negroni, tries delicious twists on old standards like the Manhattan, and diplomatically handles the eclectic crowds, from middle-aged couples canoodling at the low-slung tables to exuberant 20 and 30something ladies and their entourages. 260 1st Ave S., St. Petersburg, 727-895-8260, stationhousestpete.com