Matty Durgin

Matty Durgin Bar Director at Tiki Iniki

Matty Durgin
Bar Director at Tiki Iniki

Matty’s work behind the bar began with a Bar Back job at the young age of 18. He managed to get through college working at a place called Andrew’s Pub in LoDo, in Denver Colorado. Andrew’s was a smoky, extremely loud, 25 seat “long shot” with 6 high-top tables, a lounge, and a basement pool hall. Andrew’s Pub was a busy 7 nights per week and mainly with “notable” drunks from around town & local hospitality people. Eventually, one of the principle guys didn’t show up, etc., etc… Matty ended up learning that not only was he a natural host, he also seemed to excel making loads of drinks, quickly, & smiling at the same time. Despite a college education & graduate school, he was always drawn back to the bar.

Matty’s experience with craft cocktails & his original education on the Classics got serious during his early tenure with Steuben’s & Vesta Dipping Grill in Denver, Colorado. During those years, Sean Kenyon was at the helm and we had a rather expansive offering.

After spending nearly 4 years with Steuben’s & Vesta, Matty moved back to his hometown of Boston to help open up the Island Creek Oyster Bar. There he worked as a Principle Server, Trainer, & a Liaison to the Wine Program. He worked closely, under GM & Wine Director, Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli, to build & manage a world-class cellar, but also to assist in staff education and guest relations in respect to our Wine Program, and a general ambassador of hospitality. Jackson Cannon, Bar Director at ICOB, and his cocktail program were challenging & provocative to say the least. ICOB maintains an ever-evolving house menu of original cocktails & world-class offering of elusive craft beers. In addition, each night of service saw the inquisitive team adding new products & spirits, experimental & rare ingredients, and the entire program was based on New England history & seasonality. Being a coveted Hotel Bar & Restaurant, it was here that Matty truly was able to hone his skills on the floor and with guests but also as a leader within a dynamic team.

Matty moved back to Denver in May of 2011 and took over as the Bar Manager at Madison Street and was given total creative control. Within 2 months time, he’d built a loyal following and garnered quite a bit of local press. It was here that his work in Tiki cocktails, cocktail history, and hospitality training really came into it’s own.

From here Matty was commissioned to conceptualize a cocktail program and procure & train a staff at a new Tiki bar here in Denver called, Adrift. He co-wrote the program with Martin Cate of Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco. During the opening of Adrift, Matty was able to travel to London & stage for a full week at Trailer Happiness in Notting Hill. Trailer Happiness is probably the most relevant Tiki bar of our time in the UK and absolutely one of the most well known Rum collections in Western EU. It was here that he was able to connect with the people at Cognac Ferrand via my work as a Barman using Plantation Rums.

He returned home from the UK and was summoned by a Colorado Distributor called European Wines & Spirits to work as a Portfolio Educator. Not only does European carry the entire Cognac Ferrand range (Pierre Ferrand, Citadelle Gin, Plantation Rums, Ferrand Dry Curacao, Mathilde Liqueurs, Daron Calvados, etc.), they also house Neisson Rhum, El Dorado Demerara Rums, Lemon Hart Demerara Rum, Amoro Cio Ciaro, Hum Botanical Spirit, Fidencio Mezcal, & Willet Whiskeys.

Since then, Matty has been commissioned to conceptualize & design programs for Gaetano’s Eccelente Cucina & Cocktails and Z Cuisine. Matty works closely with the USBG to facilitate educational seminars, hands-on educational events, and raise awareness for both local companies as well as international brands. He also maintains an active role in the international cocktail community as a working Barman. Matty frequently travels to compete as an award-winning mixologist and stage at cocktail bars whenever his schedule allows. Constant education & re-education is key. He also maintains several key relationships within the local & national media in the culinary & spirits communities.

At present, Matty works full-time as the Bar Director at TIKI INIKI in Princeville, HI. This craft, Tiki bar will open in coming months on the North Shore of the Island of Kauai. He also represents COGNAC FERRAND as a Spirits Educator, and does Brand Development work for European Wines & Spirits in Colorado.

  • Active Member of the Colorado Bartenders Guild, CO/USBG
  • Guest Speaker at Aprés Ski Cocktail Classic, Aspen, CO
  • BAR SMARTS Certified (Beverage Alcohol Resource Program)
  • Bi-Monthly Guest @ COLT & GRAY, Denver, CO, Barman, Ongoing
  • Guest Bartender @ HALE PELE, Portland, OR, Oct. 2012
  • Guest Bartender @ THE HAWTHORNE, Boston, MA Oct., 2012
  • Stage @ TRAILER HAPPINESS, London, UK, Barman, Feb. 2012
  • Stage @ WILLIAMS & GRAHAM, Denver, CO, Barman, Dec. 2011
  • Stage @ MENTON, Boston, MA, Service Bartender, July 2010