Friends with Benefits: Martin Toromanov of El Cortez
“Fun. That’s the key word,” says bartender Martin Toromanov. “If you don’t have fun bartending then don’t do it.” And according to Toromanov, he’s been having fun for more than 20 years now.
Born and raised in Sunny Beach, Bulgaria, he grew up in the hospitality industry, working at the bar his family owned and operated in the popular resort town on the coast of the Black Sea. When he turned 25, he moved to the U.S., first landing in Wisconsin, then moving to North Carolina to bartend in the convention industry. But he knew that Las Vegas was the city he needed to be in to really further his career, so he made the move in 2010.
Since then, Toromanov has worked at El Cortez Hotel & Casino at the property’s various bars, including Parlour Bar, for more than seven years. “I like the smaller venue, the hotel,” he says. “I like it better than the Strip. I like downtown. If you want to experience the old vibe of Vegas, that’s what is at El Cortez. We’re also more affordable but with the same quality of big Strip properties.”
Toromanov is just the type of bartender you’d want behind the bar—friendly, fun and witty. “Bartending is something between being a best friend, a shrink and a pharmacist,” he says laughing. “Three in one! No one comes to the bar just to drink—they can drink at home. People come to the bar because they have the need for social interaction. They cheer together. Get into conversations. Get into trouble.”
Toromanov also likes to give his guests unique experiences through both drink and conversation. “I like to break people of their routine when it comes to drinking—get them to open their tastes and try something new,” he says. “Offering my guests different experiences than what they’re used to makes the job fun, and it leaves a lasting memory, and that lasting memory brings people back.”
Libation: Pumpkin Martini
Welcome fall with Parlour Bar’s specialty cocktail, the Pumpkin Martini. The liquid dessert, as Toromanov calls it, is mixed with vanilla vodka, pumpkin purée, half and half, and maple syrup. It’s topped off with whipped cream and a dash of allspice. Enjoy Parlour Bar’s daily happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m., with specials like $3 Bud and Bud Light drafts, $4 Anchor Steam and Modelo drafts, New Amsterdam gin, Bacardi rum and Jim Beam Bourbon and $5 Jameson Irish whiskey, 1800 tequila, Tito’s Handmade vodka and appetizers.
Benefit: At Parlour Bar, enjoy singer and entertainer Michael Nugent, performing Fri.-Sat. nights from 6-10 p.m.
Click here for your free subscription to the weekly digital edition of Las Vegas Magazine, your guide to everything to do, hear, see and experience in Southern Nevada. As part of your subscription, each week via email you will receive the latest edition of Las Vegas Magazine, full of informative content such as restaurants to visit, cocktails to sip and attractions to enjoy.