Brett David has an ex-girlfriend to thank.
Last fall, the Long Island native and Stephen Yorsz opened Leave Rochelle Out Of It, named after a mutual ex of the two creative directors.
This sense of humor is prevalent throughout the Lower East Side spot. A classic whiskey bar, there are 150-plus whiskeys by the glass as well as a solid menu of traditional and accessible dishes with punny names such as Hummus Among Us.
In just a few months, David and Yorsz have created a destination with a neighborhood feel, a place where guests can be greeted by name and be catered to by one of New York's finest hospitality gurus.
When not behind the bar, David, whose pedigree includes working for Anna Wintour, also models. He clues us into what it takes to make a bar a great bar.
Where did you learn how to run a bar?
I've worked in hospitality since 2000. I've worked for Anna Wintour as her waiter/butler and started Brett David Staffing where I booked male models for fashion parties. I also worked at Sons of Essex and The General.
How did you come up with the name Leave Rochelle Out Of It?
Stephen and I were outside on a stoop and talking about the name. He said, 'We have a lot in common,' and I said, 'Leave Rochelle out of it.' And Stephen said, 'Exactly.'
How are your drinks?
They are strong. We make our own cinnamon syrup and fireball with names like Daddy Issues. We also have 2-1 ratio of women to men on the weekends. Everyone is looking for Mrs. Right in a city of mistakes.
Who does your tattoos?
have over 130 hours of work on my body [by] Regino Gonzales from Invisible NYC on Orchard Street, Wooster Street Social Club and NY Ink. My first tattoo was done by New York Adorned but it's now covered with flowers.
Who trims your beard?
Barbershop on Rivington. His name is Ruben. I used to be known for my curly moustache, but I have since grown a beard.
How do you become Brett?
Certain people can be taught to do things, and others have that innate quality. I was taught by my father, who encouraged me to work for everything. He also taught me to be respectful of everyone, say thank you and ask for help when you need it. Take elbow grease over talent.