Get Out magazine proudly celebrates the announcement of Kedwin Zapata as Bartender of the Year. He is being recognized for his dedication to New York nightlife, his hard work, and his relentless and inspirational positivity. Working as a mixologist–which he considers his dream vocation–Kedwin lives in “a constant state of gratitude.”
You can meet Kedwin, if you haven’t already, for Happy Hour at Hush Bar on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 5pm to midnight. Also, Fridays at Boxers HK and Saturdays at Boxers Chelsea. Here is our interview.
Hi, Kedwin. What inspires your spirituality and positivity?
Great question! What truly motivates my desire to live in a constant state of gratitude is being fully aware that we only have this one life. We have to think of ourselves as a human magnet, constantly attracting what we speak, think and feel. So I gotta make sure it’s good shit, lol.
What best describes the themes of the bars you work at?
Diversity, for sure!
What is your favorite part of your job(s)?
I get to do what I love. Day in/night out. I get to spread my joy through the art of mixology.
You run a one-man staff at Hush Bar’s Happy Hour and you choose and play the music videos, as well as bartending. We haven’t heard music this great since back in the day at Splash Bar Chelsea. That’s a super huge compliment. Let the readers know the artists you play, because it’s very hard to get up and leave; every song makes you want to stay longer.
I would have to say it’s the best music at any venue for happy hour. You play everything from the ‘80s to the hottest tracks currently out.
We already know we can include Mariah Carey on this list. Who are others?
Haha, that is a huge compliment. Thank you, Mike! I feel like I have keen taste in music, lol–like there’s not a genre I do not like or do not listen to. I gotta say, though, that we have an advantage. You know us late ‘80’s/90’s babies. Music back then was not what it is now. There’s so much nostalgia connected to the music from that era. From hiphop, pop, R&B, house, reggaeton–shit, even country, lol…like wow…so it’s my job to teach the children of today what they’ve been missing, lol. I love to mix the old school with the new school. So anything from Donna Summer, Tina Turner and Janet Jackson to Dua Lipa, Kim Petras, Cardi etc. I love it. I love music. And I love to see folks jammin’ to it during Happy Hour.
What are the daily challenges you encounter when working all the time?
Me time, lol. But I have my day in which I sit and relax, refuel, re-evaluate. That’s super important. And if you need more than one day, please take it. Nothing matters more than your mental health, especially in this type of business. But like I mentioned, I love what I do, so it’s rare for me to be in an overwhelming state. But when I am–vacation time, lol!
If you could choose your dream job, what would it be and why?
Already living the dream. But “dream”-wise, Mariah Carey’s journal. I want to be her journal. Write on me!!! Lol
What is your motivation for posting so much on social media?
Dang, you’re gonna put me on the spot like that, lol. I don’t know if I love social media, but I will say that social media is a powerful tool to reinforce habits of thought. So, knowing that, I try to make sure what I post, aside from promoting parties, etc., comes from a place of love, growth and awareness of self, even in my thirst traps, lol. When scrolling through social media, ask yourself “How is this serving me?” If it ain’t bringing you any type of comfort, joy, laughs, etc., delete and block, boo.
What are your plans for the upcoming holidays and how will that affect or inspire jobs?
I love the holidays! Not only because I’m a December baby, but I freakin’ love everything about it. Family time, for sure–that’s what I treasure the most. I’ll be taking my mom on her first out-of-the-U.S trip in January, so that’s gonna be pretty exciting. Jobwise, the holidays are a busy season, both in the bars and outside (corporate stuff). It’s a beautiful season to get creative…and festive! Haha.
We always see from your posts that you spend Sundays–your day off– with mom. What else do you enjoy doing when you have free time?
Oh, yes, Sunday is mama day! For the early start, at least, lol. I enjoy Sundays so much. I love to catch up on my favorite shows/movies, date nights, my reads–a little porn, lol. It’s just the perfect day to reset and/or spend it with loved ones. I would never work another Sunday in my life, lol.
What do you enjoy most in dealing with the people you encounter at work?
How much in common we all have! How we’re all dealing with or have dealt with similar issues and life shenanigans. That’s the beauty of working happy hour during the weekdays because I can be busy, but not busy enough to the point where I can’t have multiple conversations, lol. Everyone has a story. And the following day a developing story, lol. It’s like therapy, but with spirits involved.
Speaking of which: Do you have a favorite drink?
My go-to, if I’m out and about (rare occasion), is vodka and Red Bull because I’m always sleepy, lol. But I do enjoy a nice, refreshing, well measured cocktail. Anything vodka, rum, tequila would do.
What do you like best about New York nightlife?
The friendships I’ve made throughout my years. The customers who have been there with me since day one–a good 12 years now. How things change, which brings in new faces, new experiences. New businesses. New opportunities. Nightlife would never drift away.
What are you most grateful for?
My parents’ health. My family. My friends.
You’ve always worked at the hottest venues in NYC, usually several at a time. What are your venue nights and times you currently work now?
Well, thank you!
Currently @ HUSH BAR Tuesday and Wednesday.
Thursday at LECHE (at HUSH BAR)
Fridays @ BOXERS IN HK (LATINX)
Saturdays @ BOXERS IN CHELSEA
I want to end this interview by giving a huge THANK YOU to Mike Todd and Eileen! Thank you for continuously serving our community. Get Out magazine, you rock!
Happy Holidays! Xoxo