Ray Srp learned his craft the day after his 21st birthday. He was educated on how to make classic cocktails from a few distinguished bartenders at a hotel near Cleveland, Ohio in the late 70’s. It was that lesson that ignited his love of tending bar.
In 1990, Ray made a decision that would change his life. He packed up his family and headed to Las Vegas. Ray started his career as an Apprentice Bartender at the newly opened Excalibur. In 1993, Ray joined the opening team at Treasure Island as a bartender in the Captain Morgan’s lounge.
Bellagio’s opening catapulted Ray into another level of bartending. It was at Bellagio that he worked under Master Mixologist, Tony Abou-Ganim. Ray moved his way through Bellagio’s Allegro Bar and then opened Club Prive, Bellagio’s Exclusive High Limit Gaming Room. In 2007, Ray was asked to step up to the position of Master Mixologist.
In his role as Master Mixologist, it was Ray’s job to oversee Belllagio’s famed cocktail program for 22 bars and teach his philosophy of bartending and drink preparation to a staff of nearly 500 employees. Ray was also responsible for the creation of new cocktail recipes and menu development, training of the Beverage Department employees, all spirit related purchasing and represented the Bellagio in all cocktail related publicity events.
Ray has been named as one of Playboy’s “A-List” Top 10 Bartenders in America. In addition he served for two years as the National Vice President for the United States Bartenders Guild. Ray has also traveled the globe competing in Italy, France and Finland, as well as multiple cities across the U.S. His accolades include the publication of numerous cocktail recipes, as well as his induction into the very selective Bartender’s Hall of Fame. Recently, Ray was awarded the 2010 Santé Magazine Spirits Professional of the Year award. Currently, he can be found at Serrano’s restaurant inside the newly opened Aria Hotel Resort and Casino. There he developed a cocktail program to pair with the Spanish tapas created by famed chef Julian Serrano.
Ray feels that the position of bartender has been overlooked and it is his ambition to change the general perception of bartender to that of a true craftsman.