wright’s tavern's bar manager trevor johnson photo by izaiah johnson

Wright’s Tavern's bar manager Trevor Johnson is obsessive about the details

Age: 27

Job title: Bar manager, Wright’s Tavern

Why watch him: He’s obsessive about the details

Trevor Johnson has been around. Among other gigs, he’s worked the bar at the Missouri Athletic Club and served as the daytime dough prep guy at Louie. He spent a bit of time in Nashville working both front- and back-of-house jobs at Adele’s before coming back to St. Louis, where he worked at Parker’s Table before going on to help to open natural wine bar ‘Ssippi in 2022.

Johnson is currently Wright’s Tavern’s bar manager, a position he’s held since the eatery opened in December 2022. In that role, he’s put together a drink list that gently twists and tweaks classic cocktails to complement the restaurant’s steakhouse bill of fare.

Johnson’s cocktails are the ones he would want to drink if he was dining at Wright’s. “I enjoy classic cocktails, always, and I think we’re in a time right now where they’re back at the forefront,” Johnson said. “At Wright’s, I think you need a pretty straightforward, simple cocktail list, because this food is classic and traditional.” For inspiration, Johnson looked to comparable spots in other cities, like Dante in Manhattan’s West Village and Red Hook Tavern in Brooklyn.

“He wants things to go well and he’s willing to do the work to make it be that way,” said Wright’s Tavern owner Matt McGuire. “He goes the extra mile in every regard, and it really shows in what he’s putting out. I think he’s probably making some of the best drinks in town.”

Though he’s a self-described “restaurant nerd,” it took Johnson a while to commit to the industry. “I didn’t want to submit myself to [the restaurant industry] for a while,” he said. “I tried to hold off for a long time. I was in and out, I had a couple of corporate jobs, but I’d always come back to restaurants.”

Once he took the leap though, he was all in. “I love [restaurants]. I spend all day on Instagram scrolling, looking at interiors and glassware,” Johnson said. “If I go out to eat and like a plate, I’ll flip it over and see who makes it. I’m into all of those sorts of details. I’ve always wanted to learn as much as possible about the entire restaurant so that one day I can open my own place.”

McGuire believes Johnson has what it takes to do just that, whether solo or collaborating with like-minded partners. Success in the restaurant industry is “a long race,” McGuire said, and creativity has to be allied with motivation, discipline and structure. “There are a lot of people who are intellectually curious about things, which is great, but you have to have the motor to do it,” McGuire said. “Trevor has that motor.” 


Tags : Cocktails, People, Bars