Friends With Benefits: David Bonatesta
For someone that likes to say he just “goes with the flow,” David Bonatesta, bar manager for the NoMad Hotel, has flowed right toward a successful career.
He started off in the industry in his hometown of Rome, eventually moving to the U.S. to continue his bartending career. First it was to New York, where he worked his way up from barback to bartender, and it’s also where he hooked up with the NoMad brand. He began bartending at the NoMad Hotel, and after three years of hard work was tasked to help open NoMad’s hotel and bar in L.A.
Last year, when NoMad Hotel opened in Las Vegas, it was Bonatesta who was tapped as bar manager for the property. Now, he oversees the cocktail programs for the hotel’s restaurant, bar and pool. “Vegas was a new challenge for me,” Bonatesta says. “So I just went with the flow and said, ‘Let’s do it’ … and I’m loving it so far.”
Lately, Bonatesta’s focus has been on the recently launched NoMad pool and Jemaa, The NoMad Pool Party. “The inspiration of the design was from the Jardin Majorelle in Marrakesh,” Bontesta says. “I’d say we’re in the category of a luxury pool.” And the cocktail program matches the upscale ambience. The handcrafted cocktails use fresh-squeezed juices and premium tonics and sodas.
“When you see the pool busy and see the crowd enjoying Jemaa, and they’re having fun and coming back to you and saying the food and drinks and staff are amazing—that’s the most rewarding,” Bonatesta says.
Perfect for a day at the pool, the Tropicana Ave cocktail “is a very fruit-forward cocktail, with the basil giving savory notes in the background, and its high-tone citrus acidity making it very refreshing,” says Bonatesta. The handcrafted cocktail mixes Absolut Elyx vodka, fino sherry, lime juice, agave, coconut water, basil and watermelon shrub. This week at Jemaa, catch a special performance by Green Velvet with Solardo as they help partiers close out EDC weekend. SoSuperSam performs May 24, Questlove brings the eclectic beats on May 25 and Mark Ronson performs May 26.
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