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.
The Doyenne of Dining in Philadelphia and South Jersey.