Michael Hanbury recently returned to his hometown of Richmond, Virginia after an extended stay in Greensboro & Raleigh which left him an expert in Southern-style food & hospitality. Now bar manager of comfort, Hanbury's 16 years of bartending experience brings a fresh flavor to the cocktail menu (some of which include yours truly). Michael let us behind the bar for a taste of his newest creations and a few recommendations for comfort patrons.
Behind The Bar: Michael Hanbury
What makes the bar at comfort unique?
We have so, so many awesome whiskeys - right now it's somewhere in the 130 range. It is a great bar for a whiskey drinker, but we have something for everyone. All of our drafts are from Virginia, and our cocktail list has a ton of variety. And it goes without saying that Jason’s food is amazing.
Which cocktail do you hope people ask for?
Old Fashioned, it’s my favorite drink hands down.
Favorite cocktail to sip on when no one is looking?
Beer and a shot, the old one-and-one. Or a cider and a shot… that’s fine too!
Do you have a favorite cider right now?
Potter's is great, especially their grapefruit hibiscus, but they are all really awesome.
Who is your favorite bartender in town?
Jason at Sabai. He’s unapologetic about being himself and I so appreciate it. His cocktails are phenomenal, I just go hang there to talk about drinking.
Favorite comfort food + cocktail pairing?
Fried green tomatoes with Chill by Death (Bonded whiskey, Fernet-Branca, lemon and honey.)
Do you have any pro-tips for the up-and-coming bartenders out there?
Always use both hands. Always. 100% of the time. This is nonnegotiable. It cuts your drink making time in half, freeing you up to make all the other drinks that need to be made.
Cocktail: The Jolene
Photography by Kate Magee.