Behind the Bar – Bryan Canales

Bryan Canales, Radio Bar
In our innagural Behind the Bar post, we featured Ryan Goodspeed, Beverage Director of The Genuine Hospitality Group. Today, we are highlighting bartender extraordinaire Bryan Canales of Radio Bar in SoFi. His personality is much like what you’ll find at the bar: cool, relaxed, hip and so much fun. He’s a Miami native who has been with the Menin Hospitality group since it acquired Radio Bar, which has fast become a favorite among Miami locals. Read on to learn more about Bryan’s take on the bar scene as a Miami native, and why sharing an Old Fashioned with Abraham Lincoln would be right up his alley.

What’s the best kind of night at Radio?
That depends on the person. At Radio we cater to two types of crowds and they usually merge sometime towards the end of the week/beginning of the weekend. If you like a nice comfortable atmosphere with some laid back tunes while enjoying a fine cocktail,then Radio during the week is definitely the place to be. Whether you’re alone, on a date, with a couple friends celebrating, or having that one drink with co-workers after a long day, Radio is your home. On the weekend we turn it up, so if you’re looking to get loose and become a party animal without the pretentious South Beach club scene (dress codes, rude bouncers, 20 high heeled models cutting you in line, or the “you have to buy a bottle to get in”spiel ….) then Radio is a must. You’re going to have so much fun at this bar and it will feel like your best friends house party.

Tell us a little about the Radio drink menu.
The drink menu at Radio is one that involves fresh ingredients, perfect balances between the “Miami” cocktail scene and classics as well – very much caters to our patrons. We change the menu with the seasons and always keep in mind what our guests response were to the previous menu. Hand-crafted, well-made cocktails at a great price with a smooth invitation to the reader of the menu/consumer of the cocktail.

What is your favorite drink to make and why? If you could have the above mentioned drink with anyone dead or alive who would it be?
My favorite drink to make is the Old Fashioned. It’s such a simple cocktail with great presentation, and when done correctly, it can make a whiskey drinker out of anyone. I’ve made it for people who have told me they either don’t like Bourbon whiskey, or they cant drink it straight but rather mixed. To this day, I have not gotten one complaint or had a cocktail returned. And, if I could enjoy an Old Fashioned with anyone it would be Abe Lincoln. We’d throw some back and compare beards.

Craziest thing that’s ever happened at your bar?
The craziest thing that’s ever happened at Radio? Well let me begin with saying love is crazy. since Radio opened I’ve been serving these two locals that come in every now and then. The last time they came in to have a couple drinks was not too long ago. So i begin the chatting with them because i know them apart not together so I was curious. They go on to tell me the story that they’ve been on and off for a year exactly and where they first met was at Radio by the simple gesture of offering a bar chair. From that moment on it was love. They went on to tell me and they recently got back together about a week from when the story I’m explaining takes place. Anyway, within that past week they decided that they were meant for each other, quit their jobs and bought one way tickets to live in Hawaii and start a new life with each other. They were only coming back to Radio that night in a one year celebration of where it all got started. And that man actually told me that i helped him get that chair he first offered and so he thanked me. I didn’t remember such a small act that’s part of my everyday at Radio. I thought that was absolutely crazy, cool, and F***ing AWESOME!!! It goes to show how a small act can really go a long way to a big future!

You have Saturday night off, how are you in enjoying Miami nightlife?
If I EVER get a Saturday night off it’s usually because I requested it to spend some time with loved ones. The night will probably involve a nice restaurant, good conversation, and of course, a visit to my fellow bartender friends for a cocktail at their establishments, followed by a visit to Radio for a night cap.

Are there any staple ingredients in your cocktails?
As far as staple ingredients Teddy Collins (Radio Bar Manager) and myself are always in the kitchen trying to infuse, blend, and basically make up anything we haven’t heard of yet. One of my favorite’s is the kale syrup; I use in my Emerald Smoke cocktail. Go Green!

If you could drink only thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Whiskey! For sure, I’m a whiskey lifer.

Mitch & Mel

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