THE L.A. BAR GOLD STANDARD
Everyone loves a fresh faced up-and-comer—the new kid in town quickly making a name for him or herself. But there’s a reason why the tried and true are the benchmarks we use to rank the hotshot’s talent. And in the L.A. bar scene, the Godfather of cocktails is Vincenzo Marianella and he’s not ready to give up his mantle any time soon.
Standing tall at 6-foot-4, the former professional baseball player in Italy casts a long shadow in the cocktail community. Affable and gregarious, Marianella has worked behind the bar all over the world, including Australia, London and New York.
Ten years ago, he founded Copa d’Oro in Santa Monica—a sleepy, little bar that crafts larger than life cocktails to the delight of many. Named Best New Bar in 2009 by Los Angeles Magazine, it was also named among the Top 50 Bars in America by Playboy Magazine in 2012.
“Our aim is to provide quality cocktails, sourcing fresh organic sustainable produce from local farmers and premium products from around the globe,” Head Barman Vincenzo Marianella declares. “Through our diverse menu, we invite you to explore something out of the ordinary. Our bartenders are willing to explore the possibilities with you.”
It’s a treat to watch Vincenzo work. Engaging with him is almost as pleasurable and satisfying as his first-rate libations. Believe me, the art of hospitality it not lost on the barman.
"I take the same pride making molecular cocktails as I do pouring a glass of water," Marianella has said. "I'm not in the bar industry; I'm in the hospitality industry. Making drinks is the easy part. A bartender's real skills are measured by his people skills."
At Copa d’Oro the cocktail menu is just a starting point. It’s extensive and impressive but engage with Vincenzo or his staff and let them craft a cocktail for you. Other bars in town tout they can do the same thing but fail. Vincenzo doesn’t fail when it comes to making you a dynamic drink.
Indeed, Copa d’Oro stands out for its unique concept of tailoring a cocktail list around fresh produce from the local farmer’s market and having a system where the guest in effect "creates" the cocktail.
"Copa d’Oro is groundbreaking in its approach to service and quality," Marianella proudly says. "Here, our guests will be part of the creative process, selecting the fresh ingredients that will be used to make their drinks. At Copa d’Oro, everyone will be a mixologist, with the opportunity to try something new every time and become part of the creative process.”
Vincenzo’s presence is also felt next door to Copa d’Oro at The Independence where he also oversees the cocktails menu. And he also runs the bar program at Gabi James in Redondo Beach where he created a drink menu that features house crafted juices and ingredients as well as a wide variety of spirits.
Time spent at Copa d’Oro is festive to say the least and appropriately Happy Hour is offered every day until 8pm and all night on Monday. So relax, engage and enjoy a creative cocktail created solely to please. Now that’s hospitality.
Copa D’Oro is located at 217 Broadway in Santa Monica. Call (310) 576-3030
Story By; Jose Martinez
Photography Courtesy Of: Copa D’Oro