Team Tartine has a major new player in the drinks department, and not a moment too soon, with Tartine Manufactory set to receive a full liquor license. Founders Chad Robertson and Liz Prueitt have hired Julian Cox, the decorated bartender behind a decade of top LA cocktail programs at restaurants like Bestia, Redbird, Otium, and Sotto. The first cocktail program that Cox created solo, at the now-closed Mexican restaurant Rivera in Downtown LA, earned three nominations for James Beard's Outstanding Bar Program award.
In San Francisco, Cox will craft Tartine’s forthcoming bar program, emphasizing new distilleries and regional produce while freezing his own custom ice courtesy of a Clinebell machine, the brand-of-choice for actual, literal ice sculptors.
In a 2015 interview with Eater, Cox cited chefs as the major influence on his cocktails, rather than bartenders. “ I get 99 percent of my inspiration from chefs now,” he declared. Now, Cox will have Prueitt, Roberts, and Tartine Manufactory co-executive chefs Bill Niles and Christa Chase to draw on.
Last year, Cox shocked Angelenos by leaving sunny California for Chicago, where he joined the Lettuce Entertain You restaurant empire. His involvement with Tartine Manufactory brings him back to the Golden State, and it could return his influence to Los Angeles as well: Tartine is getting ready to dig into Downtown LA with a new Tartine Manufactory there. In typical LA fashion, it’ll be three times the size of the original in San Francisco location. And with big name Angeleno restaurateur Bill Chait partnering on the LA Tartine Manufactory with Prueitt and Robertson, it’s no coincidence that Cox is onboard, too. Cox calls Chait “the number one influencer/mentor of mine and a big reason I do what I do,” having designed the cocktail programs at pretty much every restaurant from Chait’s former restaurant group, Sprout.