Tastemakers 2021: Meet Rebecca Monday, Food & Beverage General Manager for AC Hotels
Rebecca Monday’s resume reads like a “Best Bars in the City” list. She’s taken turns behind some of the most notable cocktail spots in Columbus—from Mouton to The Bottle Shop to the grandfather of craft cocktail bars, the now-shuttered Curio. Along the way, Monday made her mark with deft creativity, an eye on what’s trending and Instagram-ready cocktails. “I garnish a lot,” she laughs. “I present Instagrammable cocktails, which I find to be important. Social media is a huge asset.”
Cultivating the Next Generation
Now food and beverage general manager for all AC Hotels properties in the U.S., which includes Vaso in Dublin and Lumin Sky Bar in the Arena District, Monday is dispelling her gathered wisdom to the next generation of craft bartenders in the city. Her bar program doesn’t just stress fresh, seasonal and on-trend ingredients—it revolves around education. “It’s all-hands-on-deck for creating the menu, not just one person writing and teaching how to execute a drink,” she says.
Before every new menu launch, Monday and the Vaso beverage manager put together a pantry of available items (from spirits to seasonal ingredients such as figs) and challenge the dozen members of their team to create their own concoctions. Cocktails are scored and bartenders are given constructive feedback, whether their drinks make the final cut or not. They also assign homework in the form of reading materials, podcasts and documentaries. It’s all about pushing creativity, Monday says.
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“I love the path that I am on right now,” she says. “That is, educating for a corporation that allows me to travel and spread my knowledge across the country. That I’ve been able to take what my mentors have taught me and educate across the country. To continue to push my team here. I challenge them all the time. I want to see them going to seminars and competitions.”
On the side, Monday is also helping Columbus keep up with the tiki trend through her occasional pop-up, 614Tiki—a roving, one-night-only tiki bar that helped support those in the hospitality industry during the pandemic.
Find more of Columbus' Rising Culinary Stars:Tastemakers Class of 2021
Hometown: Findlay, Ohio
What did you learn during the pandemic? “How to adapt. How to pivot to try to stay hopeful and not lose what I love. And do anything I could for my community.”
What’s something you are are excited about right now? “The constant growth in beverage to culinary and to food. I love seeing beverage trail the culinary industry. I love watching that.”
What does Columbus need? “A European-style bar”
Reading recommendation: “I always give everyone ‘The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique,’ by Jeffrey Morgenthaler as their first training tool. A young bartender needs to read that as an intro.”
This story is from the December 2021 issue of Columbus Monthly.
Editor's note: Monday left AC Hotels after the December issue went to print.