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Dylan Brentwood, bartender

This is Dylan Brentwood, from Halifax.

Dylan is 28 years old and was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland. He is married and has a cat called Kip. Dylan started university studying philosophy in Newfoundland, but decided to move to Toronto to study Performing Arts and Theatre Performing Arts. Today, Dylan works at Bar Kismet in Halifax. Now, let us see how he got there.

Dylan worked as a barista for 10 years before he started to bartend. Back when he was in Toronto, he got a job at a café where the manager knew surprisingly a lot about cocktails. That is when he began to learn a little bit about making drinks. At that time, Dylan was spending his summers performing dance in Newfoundland. He would rehearse during the day and got himself a night job at the Adelaide Oyster House. It was then that he truly understood what was bartending and fell in love with the trade.

He realized that there were many similarities between bartending and performing theatre. Hospitality was like a theatre that changes every night. As opposed to rehearsing a play and playing it for a few weeks, behind a bar he would rehearse (learn his menus) and get to perform every night to a different audience.

He moved back to Toronto and got a job at Jen Agg’s restaurant Le Swan. He was hired to take care of the coffee program and to shuck oysters, but deep down he knew that he wanted to work behind the bar alongside the very talented bar team that was there. He worked his way up and learned from the best, but eventually him and his wife decided that it was time for them to leave Toronto. They moved back East, did a quick stop in Newfoundland, and moved to Halifax.

Dylan moved to Halifax specifically because he wanted to be a bartender and become a part of that community. And we understand why. The sense of community appeared to be extremely strong in Halifax. The bartenders treat it as if it was one big bar. They struggle to have quality products reaching their shelves and fight tooth and nails to get them in. They aren’t invited to competitions and find ways to submit anyway. They offer each other support and work very hard as a team to put their talent on the map and get the attention they deserve. Dylan truly believes in championing this community and becoming a part of it. Needless to say, he succeeded.


A little bit more about…

The three words that describe him best: energetic – passionate – relentless

One thing he has achieved on his life to-do list: Getting to someone super cool. Getting married young and making it a priority in his life to find a partner in crime for life.

One thing he has yet to achieve on his life to-do list: To travel. He never really travelled before and would really love to do it.

The biggest lesson his job taught him: Don’t talk shit. You don’t know what people are going through, whether it’s your guests, your colleagues or your boss. You just don’t know, so don’t talk shit.

An advice he would offer younger bartenders: You can’t learn to bartend in a book but you should still read all the books that you can. And don’t be afraid that you know everything, recognize what you don’t know and learn it.

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