Actions might speak louder than words in most walks of life, but words have done a lot for Brad Farran. It was a series of long conversations with Julie Reiner that earned Farran a spot on the opening team at Clover Club. Reiner had never hired anyone over the phone before, but with Farran—who admits he may have had a tad too much coffee during those conversations—she was willing to take the risk. And it’s no surprise, considering Farran is a bona fide enthusiast; his passion for cocktails is infectious, whether you’re on the phone or (if you’re lucky) across the bar.
Born in Philadelphia and educated in upstate New York, with time in Boston to round-out his Northeastern exposure, Farran got his first serious taste of the service industry in the South, at Enoteca Vin, a Raleigh, NC restaurant run by Chef Ashley Christensen. Farran credits Christensen for introducing him to food, beverage, and hospitality in a whole new, and surprisingly inspiring, way. “She opened my eyes to a world I had not been a part of before.” It turns out that world was a natural fit; it wasn’t long before he was working on the sommelier track at Enoteca and executing their signature cocktails behind the bar.
Although deeply enthusiastic about wine, Farran found himself more and more drawn to the specific flavor profiles and compositional balancing act of cocktails, even making special pilgrimages back up North, to New York’s cocktail dens to taste the latest drinks from the city’s top bartenders. Visiting places like PDT, Pegu Club, and Flatiron Lounge, Farran realized that New York City held the key to his professional destiny. Several conversations later, Reiner agreed to hire Farran onto her opening team at Clover Club in 2008, where Farran has been mixing up creative cocktails—and charming customers with his borrowed Southern hospitality—ever since.