Update: Brian is now slinging tiki drinks in NYC.
You don’t know his name yet, but you will.
Bartender Brian Maxwell is a recent Philly transplant and has set up shop bartending at a revered drinking establishment in the City of Drunkardly Love. You can now find him behind the bar at The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company (112 S. 18th Street), as well as companion bar The Upstairs Bar slinging fancy cocktails and fun tiki concoctions just in time for summer! He worked at 1 Tippling Place temporarily before devoting all of his time and energy into developing The Upstairs Bar into a tiki bar.
Get to know Brian:
Philly Grub: First of all, I have loved following your Instagram as you discover the city! How are you liking it so far?
Brian Maxwell: I’m absolutely loving Philadelphia. As a huge history nerd, I’ve always loved old cities like Philadelphia.
PG: What made you decide to relocate from Columbus, OH to Philadelphia?
BM: I relocated to Philadelphia from Columbus, when my girlfriend was approached by Jefferson University to start a new cancer lab for them. We visited a few times and just fell in love with the city. Since leaving New Orleans, I’ve been wanting to get back to a city with more history again.
PG: Where did you bartend in Columbus?
BM: I worked at the Grass Skirt Tiki Room, was head bartender at Sidebar, bar manager at Bottle Shop, and wrote the bar program and GM for Buckeye Bourbon House.
PG: Tell us about your journey to becoming the “Shaker of Spirits,” bartender extraordinaire.
BM: The moniker “shaker of spirits” just kind of happened when I was asked to describe what I do some years back. It just kind of stuck, so I named my website after it, shakerofspirits.com.
PG: You’re working for two very revered Philadelphia drinking establishments now… tell us more!
BM: I love both bars! The Franklin and 1 Tippling Place both have a nice place within the drinking landscape of Philadelphia, so I hope to contribute to those and share any experience I can with their programs.
PG: What are your signature drinks? What is your signature style? Favorite spirits?
BM: Ask anyone who knows me, and they would say “Brian loves rum!” I have to say this is fairly true. I love rum as a category because of its diversity. As far as cocktail styles go, I think I’m fairly diverse. I was classically trained at Galatoire’s in New Orleans, so I always try to bring that Southern Hospitality and gentleman-behind-the-bar personality wherever I am. I mainly just want to make people forget their worries and treat a trip into my bar as a mini vacation.
PG: What are you hoping to accomplish here? Do you think you will make Philly your home for a while?
BM: My main focus for any new city, when I join their bar community, is to help in any way I can. I’m very passionate about education. This year I’m actually teaching a seminar at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans entitled “We the People: Cocktails in the Colonies.” I guess Philly seems appropriate? I’m certainly hoping to make this my home.
PG: Any restaurants impress you since moving here? Any favorites so far?
BM: The food scene in Philadelphia has not disappointed at all! The meal I had at WM Mulherins was fantastic! I’m hoping to have a chance to venture out and try more places as I get more settled in. As far as cocktails, I have to say the best drinks I’ve tried so far have been at Friday Saturday Sunday. It’s funny, when you’re a bartender you tend to seek out the best cocktails before the best meals.
PG: What else should know about you?
BM: I have a degree in Musical Theatre with a minor in Art History, so I like to make every night a show.
Thanks, Brian. Can’t wait to try your tipples soon!
Got any questions for Brian? Let us know in the comments.
Gastronomic Hedonist, Tiki Lifestyle Dreamer, Digital Marketing Professional, Former Nightclub DJ, Happy Homemaker Wannabe, Cat Mommy, etc.