Charles Hardwick began his bartending career humbly in 1992, at Acme Bar and Grill in New York City. It was here that he quickly grasped the most important fundamentals of the trade; understanding that even Lynchburg Lemonades and Oreo Cookie shots taste much better coming from the hands of a skilled and attentive barman. In those years before the current Cocktail Renaissance, he worked at a wide variety of bars and restaurants in the New York City area, among them such noteworthy venues as: Match Downtown, Pravda, Mercer Kitchen and The Odeon. Each contributed something unique and valuable to his development.
A turning point in his career came when he began working alongside Jason Kosmas and Dushan Zaric at Pravda as part of a beverage program created by King Cocktail, Dale Degroff. It was here that he became truly inspired by the creative possibilities and special role that quality cocktails spun with care can play in creating a memorable bar experience. From the aesthetics of the bar to the crafting of a well-balanced libation, his vision of Utopia in a glass began to take shape.
Shortly afterwards, he reconnected with a former colleague and opened Blue Owl, the first of what would be many resurgent cocktail bars in the East Village. Voted NYC Best Cocktails 2 years running in 2006-2007 along with several features in the New York Times, The Daily News, The New York Post, Charles firmly cemented his reputation as a modern barman of great skill and imagination, and one of the few who successfully transitioned from serving Red Devils and B-52’s to the crafting of Sazeracs and Corpse-Revivers.
Charles has since left Blue Owl in order to found drinkmärkt beverage consulting and further develop his relationship with consumers and guests alike through spirits consultation and the management of beverage programs for luxury clients such as: Stolichnaya, Hendrick’s Gin, Drambuie, Art Basel Miami, Vogue, Interview Magazine, Esquire, Victoria’s Secret, Remy-Cointreau, Diageo and many more. He continues to evangelize on the nobility of the bartending profession and the pursuit of the perfect drink, served at the perfect moment.

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