American Tobin Ellis began his career in Upstate New York at the age of 18, working college dive bars and serving as head bar trainer for his university catering department. After successfully managing a small, high-volume college bar, Ellis became an NSO bar trainer for TGI Friday's, traveling the country building bar teams and opening high-volume bars.
In 1997 he moved to Washington DC where he tended bar at Sequoia next to the Kennedy Center in Georgetown and at the busiest TGI Friday's bar in the company. It was here he founded and served as president of the Flair Bartenders' Association. That combined with his growing reputation for designing drink lists, opening bars and unconventional style of training bartenders spread quickly and put him in high-demand throughout the United States.
In 1999, Tobin helped renovate a wine bar in Upstate NY into a fresh cocktail speakeasy with a Tequila focus that garnered local and nation media attention and won city readers polls two years in a row for "Best Margaritas." The Stoop served classic and contemporary margaritas and cocktails from behind an unmarked door using fresh ingredients and rare spirits and solidified Ellis' reputation in the craft cocktail movement.
By the age of 30, Ellis was consulting, training, and running bar programs for Tavern on the Green, Caesars Palace, Winter Park Ski Resort and a small handful of clients around the world including in South Africa, Grand Cayman, and Nepal.
Ellis' experience in fresh mixology traces back to 1989; since that time he has racked up six national titles in mixology competitions including the USBG/Tales of the Cocktail Nationals (2009). He has organized and judged dozens of major bartending competitions and is a regular judge on NBC's "On the Rocks: The Search for America's Top Bartender."