Episode 8: Steve Schneider from Employees Only & The Strangers Club
My guest today on the show is the "infamous" Steve Schneider. Everyone in the bar community knows him from Employees Only, then he went to open Employees Only in Singapore, and most recently he opened The Strangers Club in Panama. Today on the podcast we are talking about his roots in bartending, how to succeed in bartending competitions, mentorship, opening his own bar, and so much more.
Steve Schneider has earned a reputation as one of the most respected and successful bartenders in the industry. Of his fifteen years professionally crafting cocktails, he has spent the last nine building his career at one of the most highly esteemed NYC cocktail bars, Employees Only, which in 2011 won the coveted “World’s Best Cocktail Bar” award at Tales of the Cocktail. In June of 2016, he became a partner in Employees Only Singapore, the company’s first expansion outside of NYC. He currently resides in Panama City, where he has just opened The Strangers Club, a self-funded project with fellow Employees Only Bartender colleagues.
In 2012 Steve won the Cocktail World Cup, an international bartending competition held in New Zealand. He’s also taken home six awards for fastest bartender in different speed competitions around the world. Steve’s long and passionate journey into the industry was most recently chronicled in the hit documentary Hey Bartender (2013), which explored the cocktail renaissance and the inspiring people involved in its movement.
In March 2015, the Nightclub & Bar Media Group honored Steve with its highly anticipated Bartender of the Year award. Hosted by president of the group and host of Spike TV’s Bar Rescue Jon Taffer, the prestigious national nightlife awards program is dedicated to recognizing excellence in bar, nightclub and lounge concept innovation and success.
A former US marine, Steve’s first career in the military was cut short after a nearly fatal accident left him in a coma. When he miraculously recovered, he took the first job he could find – a position at a local dive bar. However, Steve found himself enjoying the fast paced environment and the science behind creating a truly stunning craft cocktail. He soon turned the initially temporary stint into a serious life change and worked tirelessly with the goal of donning the white Principal Bartender’s jacket at Employees Only. “I almost died in a bar,” Steve says of that night, “And I was reborn in a bar.”
Since accepting his promotion to Principal Bartender at EO, Steve has appeared in numerous publications and TV appearances including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Eater, Gotham, MTV, Playboy, Time Out, New York Observer, Imbibe Magazine, VH1 Big Morning Buzz, Jaime Oliver’s DrinksTube, Watch What Happens Live, ESPN and more. In January 2015 Steve launched his own podcast The Steve Schneider Show (available on iTunes and Google Play) where he entertains and educates listeners about the different facets of the bar industry. The show offers a glimpse into Steve’s fast paced lifestyle and welcome some of the most high profile, inspiring characters who - whether behind the scenes or behind the bar - have helped shape and evolve the bar industry.
Steve continues to strive to be the best and often represents Employees Only as well as the USA in cocktail competitions around the world. Perhaps dearest to his heart however is his passion for inspiring young bartenders and sharing his knowledge and experience of cocktail culture.
Listen to The Steve Schneider Show podcast here:
Find Hey Bartender on Netflix here:
Bacardi Untameable Series: