Interview with Kedwin Zapata

Kedwin Zapata is a bartender at Castro Bar and various others. He has been involved in gay nightlife for the past seven years, hosting and promoting several parties along the way. He also works for Hennessy, a popular brand of Cognac.

I spoke with him and found him to be a blast. He came to New York from the Dominican Republic when he was five and remained here ever since.

Kedwin, tell me exactly what you do.
I’ve been bartending in the gay community for about seven years now. I work in some of the other bars, but what I do is I work for Hennessy. I do their ordering and post on their website. I post cocktails for all the seasons: winter, fall, spring, whatever.

Where are you bartending now?
I worked at XL, but they closed, and now I work at Castro Bar uptown. Everything is closing down. Tonight I’ll be at G Lounge; they are closing too. Today is their last day.

What’s going on in New York?
It’s bananas. I don’t know what’s going on. On Sundays I work at Mandala in Passaic, New Jersey. It’s been gay every Sunday for three years now.

You also run some parties I understand.
I do Wednesday nights at Castro Bar. We call that CockBoyz Wednesdays. I’ve been doing that for two years now with my partner Yamil X.

What kind of party is it?
It’s all men, dancers, kind of eye candy and all that good stuff.

So if someone like me came on down, would I be allowed in?
Oh yeah, definitely, yes. We get a lot of straight women, which is exciting. You need to come by one day.

I plan on it. Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I’ve been here since I was five. I lived in Washington Heights, but now I live in Harlem. I’m a Harlem boy now. I’m Dominican, born and raised. I love to work. I’m never not working. I love to stay busy. I love to work. I love to spread as much joy as I possibly can, behind the bar and just in general.

I take it that you’re popular?
I don’t know if that’s the right term. I like to be present, in the moment.

What’s your favorite cocktail?
I have a bunch of them. I’m pretty simple. I’m a vodka and Red Bull guy. I mix up so many cocktails that I don’t have a favorite.

I bet you use Hennessy a lot.
Go to for cocktails.

You’re a new addition to a crayon box. What color are you?
I am the rainbow color, the gay color.

With some sparkles?
OMG, glitter. I always use a glitter emoji.

If you had one thing to say to your favorite clientele or followers, what would it be?
Spread love and cocktails!

Eileen Shapiro

Best selling author of "The Star Trek Medical Reference Manual", and feature celebrity correspondent for Get Out Magazine, Louder Than War, and Huffington Post contributor, I've interviewed artists from Adam Ant, Cyndi Lauper, and Annie Lennox to Jennifer Hudson, Rick Springfield, LeAnn Rimes, and thousands in between. My interviews challenge the threat of imagination....

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