Over the Bar

Back Bar USA's Weekly Newsletter

Mixologist of the Week: Timothy Tolbert
January 23rd, 2019
Bartender Timothy Talbot

Where do you currently work?
I am a bartender at The Lounge at The Signature at MGM Grand, and I am also a Premium Bartender at T-Moblie Arena.

How did you get your start as a bartender? 
I got into the industry about 15 years ago. I was originally working at Excalibur, doing room reservations, and I wanted to try something different. I’m good at talking to people, so I figured a better way of using my hospitality skills would be serving drinks. I’ve worked in hospitality for the majority of my life, so this is just another industry to come to.

My first job in the industry was as a barback at the South Coast, which is now called South Point. I helped open it and was there for five years. When I first started actually bartending, it was for Aramark at MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Do you have any advice for anyone getting started out in the industry?
Have patience. A lot of bartenders don’t have patience. They think they are so ready to see the glitz and glamour, and they don’t understand that there will be some growing pains. I’m very humbled and grateful for the opportunities I’ve had.

You’ve recently received an award for your customer service skills. What is the secret to your success?

I try to be attentive to everybody, whatever situation it is. That helps me have repeat customers, and it helps spread the word of Signature.

We try to give the guest the ultimate guest experience by enjoying their time here and learning about our property, as well as the town. Many people come to Las Vegas not knowing what to do. So we want them to know Vegas, and for me personally, I want them to also explore Vegas off of the Strip. I’d rather them go to Bonnie Springs Ranch or Valley of Fire and things like that. That way they can see where locals live and go, rather than just stay on the Strip.

There is a lot more to Vegas than just the Strip. I like to show guests pictures of these places so that they can get an idea of what the rest of Vegas looks like.

Can you tell us about the vibe at The Signature?
The Signature’s lounge is very low key. Many business professionals come here because its a nice place to unwind without the glitz and glamour of a casino. We don’t have gaming or indoor smoking; it is very casual, and although people know about us, we don’t have to be mainstream. We are also conveniently close to MGM Grand and Topgolf.

Ginger Pear Martini

What is your process in creating a competition-worthy cocktail?
Knowing what the specialty of the liquor is first. So I want to at least know the history of it. For example, for a whiskey, I’d want to know where it originated, what tastes good with it and what it was aged in. Stuff like that. Because I want to make something unique and something you haven’t seen before. And if it’s something that has been done, I want to be able to perfect it and add a little of me to it rather than do what everybody else does.

I just try to make my drinks with a smile and have a good time when doing it. If I’m not having a good time, then its time for me to go.

Do you have any mentors in the industry to whom you look up, or who helped guide you when you were getting started?
As far as bartending, no. But as far as succeeding, yes, and that’s my mother. Being a single mom, she has helped raise me to be the person I am today—independent and able to help others when time needs. Being a bartender you obviously need to multitask; you need to hear people and listen. That’s what my mom did. She helped me and my brother grow up to be the best we possibly can be, both as individuals and as people. We are an example of her.

Ginger Pear Martini
• Skyy Infusions Bartlett Pear Vodka
• Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur
• St–Germain Elderflower Liqueur
• Sweet and Sour Mix

Venue Information:
The Lounge
The Signature at MGM Grand
145 East Harmon Ave
Las Vegas, NV 89109