Scranton Twohey, owner of Whislers bar, decided to leave his high-profile job at the W Hotel to open up the establishment because he was tired of working for other people. Whislers is an Austin bar located on East Sixth street that opened its doors in 2013. Since its inception, it has become well-known for its unique management and bartending style. Twohey’s out-of-the-box perspective even attracted some of Austin’s most sought-after bartenders. Twohey was extremely picky when it came to selecting his staff. He feels that the employees represent the business, so he wanted only the best – and that’s what he got. According to Twohey, the business has become much less about the money and more about producing an establishment that’s different and fun to work in.
Unique management practices
Twohey decided to give his staff complete freedom in running the bar. He admitted that although he didn’t ever have freedom at any of the places he worked, he wanted to take that risk and see what it did for the business. Instead of deciding exactly what goes on the cocktail menu, he lets his talented and experienced staff create the drink list themselves. Understanding cost efficiency is completely up to the bartenders, as is deciding what to make for busy weekends and which beverages should be pre-batched.
Twohey and Aguilar both decided to use standard bar glasses instead of the fancy glassware for a casual and comfortable atmosphere. Mixologists use as few ingredients as possible to streamline each recipe. Syrups, bitters, infused liquors and housemade jams all contribute to producing one-of-a-kind cocktails.
Another unique element that sets Twohey apart from other bar owners is that he actually encourages his customers to ask for drinks that aren’t on the menu. This pleases the patrons and gives his bartenders a challenge to keep them on their toes.
Getting to know the staff
One of the talented staff bartenders at Whislers is former W Hotel libationist Joyce Garrison. She has more than 18 years of experience behind the bar and is able to create some of the best cocktails in Austin. She was even recognized as the “Best Mixologist” in 2010 by the Austin Chronicle. Using fresh ingredients, special technique, imagination and an endearing attitude, she leaves guests wanting more. Her drink-making skills aren’t the only thing that brings customers in, either. She has been participating in improv comedy for more than 13 years, so not only can she whip up a mean drink, she can make everyone laugh.
Other members of the staff include Mia Kersten, Jenna White, Matt Ross, Sean Skvarka, Mike Phillips and Ben Harris. To learn how to craft custom cocktails like these talented bartenders, enroll in an Austin culinary arts school.