fionna gemzon, bar manager at none of the above photo by izaiah johnson

None of the Above's Fionna Gemzon is a bar manager with vision

Age: 30

Job title: Bar manager, None of the Above

Why watch her: She's got vision

“Fionna has a vision for putting things together,” said Jennifer Masur, director of service for Niche Food Group. “In her cocktails she shows how certain components go together that you wouldn't imagine.”

“As much as I hate to use the word ‘mixologist,’ she's an amazing mixologist. Her ideas and her creativity are unparalleled,” seconded Melinda Cooper, director of beverage and bar operations at Niche Food Group. “But at the same time, in a world of fancy aprons and bow ties and mustaches, Fionna stands out. She doesn't have to lean on anything.”

Gemzon’s cocktail In the Mood for Love, which she created for the debut house cocktail menu at None of the Above, is a case in point. The drink combines rye and sotol with a black sesame oil fat wash and a cumin-coriander syrup to create a perfectly balanced drink that is both surprising and crave-worthy.


in the mood for love cocktail at none of the above // photo by izaiah johnson


Gemzon attributes her unique palate in part to her Filipino heritage. “It's given me a lens of tasting,” she said. “A lot of the food there has high acid with that sweet and sour. A lot of my cocktails have a tendency to lean that way.” But she also finds her creativity from simply spending a lot of time experimenting behind the bar. “The research and development stuff is most interesting to me – learning what ingredients work well with each other,” she said.

Yet, when Masur referred to Gemzon's vision for combining things, she wasn't just talking about her ability with ingredients; but rather her vision for, well, everything.

When it came time to take on None of the Above, Gerard Craft's swanky new speakeasy located beneath City Foundry STL, Gemzon was the obvious choice for everyone involved. “I said, ‘Fionna, this is yours,’” said Cooper. “Make this space yours. No one is going to tell you what to do.”

And she did. From the paper stock the menu is printed on, to the delicate glassware that feels like an extension of your hand, Gemzon’s influence at None of the Above is evident far beyond the cocktails themselves – and the care with which she mulls over details is apparent.

“She even makes the coolest playlists,” added Masur, explaining how Gemzon's musical selections not only create the perfect atmosphere and mood for the space in which she's working, they also somehow anticipate what both the staff and guests want to hear before they even know it.

Gemzon's seemingly innate sense of taste and balance also extends to who she works with. “She's a natural leader, and a lot of people want to work for her,” said Masur.

Gemzon is as thoughtful about team dynamics as anything else she takes on. Sometimes she’ll work extra shifts herself rather than hire someone she doesn’t think is the right fit for a given role. “She's careful,” said Cooper. “She understands how one person can tank the culture of a space.”

And where might Gemzon take her vision next? She doesn't know. Or maybe she does. “She's mysterious,” said Masur. 


Tags : Cocktails, People, Bars