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Lantern’s Keep Staff
Meet the Best Bartenders in NYC
Lantern’s Keep is proud to employ some of the best bartenders in NYC – experts on hand-crafted cocktails, with a wealth of experience behind the city’s most prestigious bars. Learn more about our team by browsing the following Lantern’s Keep staff information.
Bartenders at Lantern's Keep
- Rene Hidalgo: Rene, Head Bartender of Lantern's Keep began his career as a barback at The Whiskey Ward where he was quickly promoted to bartender and discovered a passion for bartending, sipping spirits and the art of distillation. While working at Vintry Wine and Whiskey, under the tutelage of sommelier Ivan Mitankin, he learned to serve a list of over 100 Old World and American wines by the glass, in addition to a reserve list dating back to the 1870's. From There he had the opportunity to learn the art of hospitality at Gramercy Tavern. In the fall of 2011 Rene joined the team at Lantern's Keep and learned to perfectly craft classic cocktails. He has since taken the helm of the bar program.
Before entering the hospitality industry, Rene operated a small chain of vintage clothing and antique stores. Rene's background in vintage and antiques readied him for the world of classic cocktails, as he was accustomed to putting his work into an historical context.
A lifelong resident of New York, he currently resides in Brooklyn with his wife Heather. In the spring of 2012 they opened Beloved, a casual cocktail and beer bar in Greenpoint where he can occasionally be found slinging drinks on quiet Sunday evenings. And in 2012 he joined the staff of Shasha Petraske's Milk & Honey. Rene has studied at the International Wine Institute.
- Lauren McLaughlin: Lauren, joined our team in early 2012. Prior to her pursuit of a career in the cocktail world she bartended in numerous establishments and settings, varying from nightclubs to fine dining. Originally from Pennsylvania, Lauren is a video artist, history buff and former ballerina with a degree in Film and Art History from Boston University.
Lauren currently spends her time behind the bar at Lantern's Keep, Middle Branch, Milk & Honey and Beloved.
- Bobby Hicks: Bobby joined our team in early 2012. He joined our team while working as Head Bartender at Mondrian SoHo. A former line cook, he chose to step behind the bar because of a strong passion for classic cocktails. Bobby is originally from Orlando, Florida, is fluent in Russian, plays violin and is author of a popular fashion blog called "This Fellow".
Bobby currently bartends at Lantern's Keep and Milk & Honey.
- John Ploesser: John came to New York to open Perla as Head Bartender. In his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin, John honed his bartending skills at The Old Fashioned where he developed an interest in classic cocktails while making, sometimes, hundreds of their namesake drinks in a single night.
John lived for a year in the south of France where he became fluent in the language. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Film Theory. He bartends at Lantern's Keep, as well as Featherweight in Brooklyn.
- Matthew Houlihan: Matthew has been bartending since 2004 in bars and restaurants all over New York. His first experience with classic cocktails was at 'inoteca y Liquori Bar, and from there he moved on to open Rubirosa as Bar Manager. Matthew is a Brooklyn native, rabid Mets fan, holds a degree in Fine Art from City College and has extensively studied distillation of maguey spirits (tequila, mezcal etc).
Matthew can be found behind the bar at Lantern's Keep and NoMad.
- Theo Lieberman: Theo first got his start as a member of the opening bar staff at the John Dory Oyster Bar where he was trained by Sasha Petraske and fell in love with the craft. From there he opened Lantern's Keep as Head Bartender, where he further developed the bar program, earning us a nomination for Best World Hotel Bar at the 2012 Spirited Awards. In late 2012 Theo stepped down from his position to take on a larger role as Head Bartender at Milk & Honey, but chose to stay on at Lantern's Keep as a bartender.
Theo is a native New Yorker and holds degrees from Colombia University and NYU.