Justin Ware began his career in the service industry while attending Texas A&M University. Starting off as a high volume server and bartender, then as a server/bartender at a local fine dining restaurant, he eventually moved into a sales position at a boutique wine distributor. That experience lead to a transition back into the service industry, this time in the form of a stint at Soma Sushi working in the kitchen, as the front of house manager, server and bartender.
Soon he began using his kitchen experience to create new cocktails for the Soma bar program.
Justin’s dedication and inventiveness with drinks then led to a stage at both Bobby Heugel’s Anvil Bar & Refuge and Alba Huerta’s Julep, where he spent just under a year both behind the bar and in the kitchen with Julep chef Adam Garcia.
Justin made the switch to Johnny’s Gold Brick as part of the opening staff, which has had a four year strong life span becoming a local neighborhood hang out as well as a cocktail destination in Houston. Recently Johnnys was named the ”Bar Fight Club Champion”. The competition hosted bars from all over the US and Canada and Johnnys was chosen as judges choice. Justin took over general manager duties after a year of working behind the stick and has put his personal touch to the back bar and encouraged the staff to put out monthly cocktail menus that are creative and inventive. Boasting over 36 Menus on time every month with minimal crossover.
Once Justin was rooted at Johnny’s Gold Brick he entered local and national cocktail competitions. In his four years of competing Justin has been a regional finalist at Bombay Sapphire’s Most Imaginative Bartender, a Semi -finalist in Bacardi Legacy, three time regional finalist and one time national finalist in Heaven Hill’s Bartender of the year, and 3 time regional finalist and two time national finalist in Diageo’s World Class competition. As of 2019 Justin was named Heaven Hill and Liquor.com’s Bartender of the Year winning the grand title as well as $15,000. Justin was also recognized by Grey Goose as an up and coming influencer, in which he received a trip to Berlin for Bar Convent Berlin (BCB) and a chance to see the blending and bottling of Grey Goose in Cognac, France. Justin’s experience have lead him to be a well rounded and inventive bartender in Houston’s Cocktail scene.
As of 2017 Justin Started his own business with fellow barman Patrick Abalos in Houston, Not Too Sweet Venture, Focusing on consulting, Private Events, and brand development. Picking up projects with companies like Beam Suntory, Heaven Hill, Campari, as well as local restaurant groups. As of 2019 Justin and his PArtners signed a lease on a space to open Night Shift, a local bar and eatery on the east side of Houston in the Historic Houston Second Ward. Night shift is slated to open in early 2020.
Justin Ware is an exceptionally talented barman and will be a force to be reckoned with when it comes to his passion and creativity behind the stick, and will make his mark on the city in due time.
General Manager at Johnny’s Gold Brick. Owner and Partner with Not Too Sweet Venture ( Consulting, private events and brand development) Managing Partner of Night Shift Bar
Current go-to drink:
Daiquiri With Banks 5 Rum
Current go-to spirits brands:
Old Grandad Bonded Bourbon
Bartender that inspires you today:
Eric Castro / Jeffrey Morgenthaler
What book (or other resource) should every new bartender use to learn?
Imbibe By David Wondrich and The Bar Book By Jeffrey Morgenthaler