The white rounds that decorate the outer walls of Jean Georges Steakhouse represent bone rounds.
Craig Schoettler began his culinary journey at full speed and hasn’t slowed down since, using his experience with fine cuisine to launch a successful career in the beverage industry. In 2007, Schoettler earned his bachelor’s degree in science, culinary arts from Johnson & Wales University, graduating magna cum laude. During his time in school, Schoettler gained experience as an intern at Tru restaurant in Chicago, where he managed the garde manger station and worked his way up to chef de partie.
Following graduation, Schoettler made the move to Alinea, a 3-star Michelin restaurant, first as an intern and later as chef de partie. Schoettler was quickly promoted to chef de tournant, where he assisted chefs in all kitchen stations. In 2009, while at Alinea, Schoettler created a series of edible cocktails. This spawned a new, simultaneous venture in 2010 as executive chef at The Aviary, a highly acclaimed cocktail lounge and restaurant.
Schoettler developed a beverage-focused kitchen for The Aviary, plus its basement speakeasy – The Office – where he conceived and created two award-winning beverage programs featuring progressive cocktails and unprecedented techniques. Schoettler’s innovative styles quickly gained him recognition from local and national publications.
After taking a brief hiatus from the food and beverage industry to travel, Schoettler decided to try bartending. He accepted a position at Drumbar in Chicago, and less than a week after his first shift, Schoettler was asked to take over the beverage program. From there, Schoettler became the corporate beverage director for Drumbar’s parent company, Menin Hotels, in 2012.
Schoettler mainly oversaw the Raffaelo Hotel and transformed the property bar, Drumbar, into a sophisticated speakeasy concept, carrying an extensive, worldly whiskey collection. In addition, Schoettler created luxury mini-bars for guests, helping to reinvent in-room dining at the hotel. He also redefined the beverage program at Menin’s Radio Bar in Miami. With such great success during his year with Menin Hotels, Schoettler eagerly accepted an offer from the luxurious AAA Five Diamond ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
As ARIA’s first property mixologist, Schoettler breaks through the boundaries of modern mixology, working to constantly develop new ideas and achieve the highest quality of service and guest experience.
Schoettler’s dedication to his craft and astounding creativity has led him to win several awards, including “Beverage Professional of the Year” from the Chicago Tribune and “National Bartender of the Year” from Eater National. His groundbreaking concepts were also recognized through titles his bars have received, such as Best New Bar from Time-Out Chicago, Ten Best Whiskey Bars in America 2013 from GQ Magazine and Outstanding Bar Program from the James Beard Foundation.