Bartender John Gertsen is Leaving Boston

As part of his new role within the Barbara Lynch Gruppo, Gertsen is moving to San Francisco, possibly to open new bars.

John Gertsen

Photo provided by BL Gruppo

The Barbara Lynch Gruppo has announced that  John Gertsen, opening General Manager of Drink, will promoted to the role of Spirits & Hospitality Ambassador. Gertsen will stay on at Drink through September, training his successor, Ezra Star, Drink’s current bar manager. After September, Gertsen will relocate to San Francisco to resume his new duties, which will include overseeing the cocktail programs at Gruppo properties Drink, No.9 Park, Menton, and Sportello, as well as the Barbara Lynch Foundation’s annual Toques & Tonic charity event.

“I’ve been talking with Barbara [Lynch], Cat Silirie (executive wine director), and Jefferson Macklin (President and COO), for some time about the next step in my career,” Gertsen says. “I’ve been with the group for 12 years now and I look forward to continuing to work with Drink in the future. I think this is a really exciting time, because Drink has a great leader in Ezra. That made it more comfortable for me to move to another city and work remotely. I wouldn’t do that if I didn’t have faith in her. The time is right for many different reasons.”

Gertsen is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading bartenders, with over 15 years spent in Boston bartending, creating cocktail programs, and developing talent. He worked closely with Lynch on the creation and opening of Drink in 2008, which under his direction was named a top 10 cocktail bar by Bon Appétit.

“In my new position, I’ll be specifically focusing in on the bar programs within the BL Gruppo,” Gertsen says. “Drink, No. 9 Park and Menton have pretty sound spirits program already in place, but what I think we’re hoping to do is to have all the restaurants maintain a shared focus. My role will be to oversee all things spirits and hospitality related.”

In addition to his new responsibilities, Gertsen will explore other opportunities in collaboration with Lynch, such as product development, media projects, consulting, and eventually, additional bar concepts. After departing in September, Gertsen and his girlfriend Cali Gold, a Drink alum and current Bar Manager at Spoke Wine Bar, will be guest bartending at various spots throughout the country. Stay tuned for updates on their cross-country cocktail tour by following @drinkboston, @jgertsen, and @calixgold.