'Marvellous. Toby Cecchini is no part-time, blender-drink-slinging woo-woo-pouring dilettante. He's a professional. A hard, wise, funny, sad and unflinching look at the world from the other side of the bar. Beautifully written, as fascinating for its backstairs account of hip bar/lounge hijinks as it is for its unique perspective on human behaviour. New York nightlife in all its true, hilarious, horrific, poignant and pinheaded glory.' Anthony Bourdain, author of Kitchen Confidential
Cosmopolitan is the story of a day at Passerby, Toby Cecchini's bar. It is a rich study of human nature, of the sometimes annoying, sometimes outlandish behaviour of the human animal under the influence of alcohol, lust and the sheer desire to bust loose and party. It's not a pretty picture, but it's always compelling through the gimlet-eyed gaze of this author. As his day progresses from the almost pastoral quiet of opening through the gathering rush of after-work customers to the crazed crush of night-time fun-seekers, Cecchini muses over his life in the trade. He tells us about dealing with regulars, sex and the bartender, cocktail connoisseurs, the sheer man-killing pace of keeping those drinks coming at flood tide, and the manifold varieties of weirdness and bad behaviour that every bartender has to learn how to manage.
Cecchini is also the man who reinvented the Cosmopolitan, and he is not shy of showing his dismay at the way the drink went on to be bastardised by many thousands of bartenders and become a highly dubious indicator of urban sophistication.
Cosmopolitan is a hip, behind-the-scenes look at the glorious, frenzied atmosphere of that great establishment, the bar. By turns witty, acute, mordant and lyrical, Toby Cecchini does for bartenders what Anthony Bourdain did for chefs in Kitchen Confidential.