Palette Magazine

South Florida bartender Ashley Bongayan of The Continental Miami

Photo: Christina Mendenhall

Whether you’re hitting happy hour, having a classic cocktail before dinner or dancing the night away, these fine professionals can get you shaken and stirred the right way. Originally from various parts of the globe, five local bartenders share their tips and stories from behind the bar.


03. Ashley Bongayan, 27

Bartender at The Continental Miami (Starr Restaurants)

Behind the bar: 4 years

Nickname: “Bong” (because of her last name)

Home city: Beech Grove, IN

Places Worked: QBall Billiards in Jacksonville, FL; Norman’s Tavern and The Bunker at 1826 in Miami Beach, FL


Tell us how you got your start.

I started bartending on the weekends for some extra cash and realized I really liked it. Now that I’m back in school, it’s a great way for me to have fun while making money, and it works well around my class schedule.


What is the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is having the opportunity to meet all kinds of different people from all over the world. You never know who is going to sit down and start drinking! Every person has a different story and something different to bring to the table (or bar top in this case). I’ve learned a lot about the world from people who’ve sat at my bar.


Chefs often play My Last Supper. What would your last drink be?

Perhaps a generous pour of Remy Martin Louis XIII cognac should be considered, however I think I’d like something more familiar for my last drink… I’d take a cold beer, like a Sam Adams.


Share a tip, trick or trade secret.

Behind the bar you are a mystery, a confidant, a servant and an actual person all rolled up in one. Choose wisely which role to present at any given moment.

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