Spotlight: Carlie Steiner and Tea Time DC

Hey DC, it’s time for tea with one of my new favorite bartenders, Carlie Steiner. I first met Carlie a few weeks ago, and after a few coffees and a rather short meeting, we were already scooting all over town in her new Vespa, Sophia, shooting back and forth about classic cocktails, and quickly becoming fast friends.

If there’s one piece of advice I can give about the food and bev scene in DC, is don’t follow places, follow people. No matter where you go and what you like, I guarantee that if you develop a relationship with a bartender, server, manager, barista, whatever, you will love wherever it is they are working or whatever it is they are doing. Try to get less caught up in what new bars are opening and instead try to make connections with industry people that you like and respect, because if I follow them wherever they go, you’ll have the same great experience every time. And Carlie is one of those people to follow.

Fairly young to the DC bar scene, Carlie started in New York at culinary school, where she honed her skills as a chef, learning valuable techniques to put to use behind the bar and in the kitchen. It’s no wonder then that she was hired right out of school to work the bar at José Andrés’ Minibar, where she made such an impression that she was moved over to his new, experimental cocktail lab, Barmini.

What can you expect from someone who has been working in restaurants all her life and has an unquenchable passion for classic cocktails who’s then dropped behind a bar as advanced as Barmini? A lot, and Carlie doesn’t disappoint. Partly because she studied her butt off for months before Barmini opened, and partly because she posses a bright creative spark, and this was her first opportunity of express herself with full creative reign.

Turns out she had so much fun at Barmini that she wanted to create the same environment to foster the creative spirits of other artists, musicians, and industry professionals. And thus Tea Time DC was born. It’s hard to describe exactly what Tea Time is. It’s a multisensory artistic experience. It’s like hanging out with old friends, even if you’ve never met before. It’s food, music, drinks, visual art, people, experiencing things, and making memories.

The events are small and intimate, with talented professionals at the top of their game, and it’s all presented in a simple, approachable way that lets the focus stay on the art and guests’ experiences. Carlie and her team of close friends have created a truly unique, social way to share and experience art, and next Thursday, April 24th, Carlie and us over here at WeLoveDC are partnering to put on the largest Tea Time DC event yet hosted at the beautiful Ulysses Room (“it looks like the coolest wedding I’ve ever been too!”)

This month Tea Time is going to feature FAIR Girls, a local nonprofit dedicated to ending human trafficking, food, art, blue grass, and all the rock’n’rye you can drink (and other stuff, but damn, can you be sure I’m making everyone drink rock’n’rye). Make sure to get your tickets and if you would like to get involved, contact Carlie at teatimeinformation [at] gmail [dot] com or on Twitter via @teatimedc.

Paul Allen

While having only recently relocated to DC, Paul has been a long time fan of DC’s cocktail culture. In his short career he has tended bar for GQ, Bombay Sapphire, Campari, and Nikka Whisky in London. Currently you can find him behind the stick at Firefly. When not working, he’s likely vociferously advocating for the DC Craft Bartender’s Guild or trying to brew the perfect cup of tea. Though he misses his native Rhode Island’s beaches and beautiful fall weather, Paul is proud to live, work, and–most importantly–drink in DC.


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