Brian Washington-Palmer didn’t set out dreaming about a career in the food and beverage industry. He was first on track to become a professional dancer, leaving his Berkeley, California roots to pursue a scholarship with the illustrious Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City. From there he continued his educational journey with a stop at Hunter College, and an extended sojourn to the University of Paris (France) for four years. While in Paris, he worked at the famous China Club and Mustang Café as Chief Bartender, serving as his entrée into the world of hospitality.
During this period of his life, Brian had the privilege of being able to travel throughout Asia, Europe and Latin America; he speaks three languages, including English, Spanish and French. His last educational stop, back in the United States, was massage school training before he decided to open his first restaurant, Bleu Evolution, in 1998. Once he embarked on his journey as a restaurant owner, he found himself enamored with it and continued on to open several unique and popular venues, including: Café Santiago Sandwich Shop (1999), Café Verdes Taqueria (2000), Monkey Room Bar (2000), Native Restaurant (2001), Viva Lounge (2005), No Parking (2006) and most recently, La Bodega 47 (2013). These ventures have continually received positive attention in the media.
His latest property opened in conjunction with partner Nikoa Evans-Hendricks is La Bodega 47, located in Harlem. It is a social club featuring over 100 premium rums from around the world, incorporated into specialty, hand-crafted rum cocktails and accompanied by an American/Latin menu.
While he chose not to pursue a career in dance, he still follows his passion for it on a social level with Salsa. In addition, his other hobbies including scuba diving, sky diving, theater, reading, travel, food and, of course, rum.