Industry Insiders: The Real McCoy of Larry Lawrence Bar

Over on our Mixology site in the Pros section, we asked the hottest bartenders in New York and Los Angeles to whip up a specialty cocktail while describing their perfect New Year’s Eve. Tatsuya McCoy, the owner, manager, and bartender of Larry Lawrence Bar in Williamsburg and craftsman behind the Sweet Lawrence, tells us about living extravagantly, a year on the wagon, and guys who get straight to the point.

Where do you go out? Dressler. Its American French food. The food is excellent, and the restaurant is beautiful. They also have a really nice bar. I like this bar called Happy Ending in the city. They have a lot of events. Another restaurant I like is right across the street from us, and its called Bozu.

What is your guiltiest pleasure? That would have to be going to a really expensive restaurant that I can’t afford, and having a chef’s tasting and a wine pairing.

What do you do? What do you drink? It’s not just bartending — I would say my job is to set up a very nice environment and vibe for my customers and make sure they’re having a great time. Currently I am not drinking. I decided to take a year off and see how that feels, but what I usually like is vodka on the rocks with a splash of soda. In the winter I like having a beer or a nice bourbon.

How did you get your start? Wow. I’ve been in the restaurant and bar industry for a long time. I’ve been doing this for 14 years. I started by waiting tables and moved on to bars. My happiest bartending memory was at Double Happiness in New York City, when it was very popular in 1998-2002.

What is the worst cocktail you’ve ever had to make? Oh yeah, I had to make one recently. It was Jaegermeister and Red Bull.

What’s the worst pickup line you’ve ever heard while tending bar? Probably the really forward ones that sometimes work. For example, when a girl and a guy have been talking for a while, and then the guy will say, “So, you want to have sex tonight or what?”. I’ve seen it work. What celebrity would you like to share a drink with at your bar? That would be Anthony Bourdain. He’s just a well-rounded person. He probably has great stories, and I just think I’ll get along with him.

What’s your ideal bar-hopping night in New York/LA? It would start during the day with lunch. When I used to drink, I liked to go and taste different beers at various bars. If they have food, that’s good too. Just sort of nibble on things and go place to place, probably around Williamsburg, and end up back at my bar and say hello to everybody.

What are you doing tonight? Tonight I might go to an art opening that my friends are having at their loft. Then I’m probably going to drop by Larry Lawrence. Using three out of five of the following ingredients, make me a dream cocktail: grenadine, pepper, Tequila, avocado, lemongrass. I would use tequila, avocado, and pepper. I would make a cocktail by pouring tequila and fresh lime juice. I would use some grenadine, and then I would shake it straight into a cocktail glass with a slice of avocado and sprinkle pepper on top of it. I would call it the Salsa Fiesta.