Nathan and Mario (Photography by Dale Stine exclusively for Hotspots)

In the nightclub industry, it’s rare to find a venue celebrating five years in business, let alone 25. But Twist will be doing just that on Wednesday, June 27. Owners Richard Trainor and Joel Stedman have assured me that this will be a party for the ages.

“In our wildest dreams, we never thought Twist would go 25 years,” says Trainor. “It’s been an extreme honor to be part of this community for so very long. We could have never done it without our amazing crew. But of course, we owe everything to our fantastic guests, who join us day after day, night after night from around the world. May the lights never go dim, let’s keep the party going forever.”

It sounds like the anniversary blowout this week will make a good start on that goal. Complimentary cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be flowing when the doors open at 9pm. The first 200 guests will also receive a special 25th-anniversary DVD, mixed and produced by everyone’s favorite Twist VJ, Nathan P. Smith. Collectors’ items!

The evening will also feature special performances by many of the stars who have made Twist so successful over the last quarter century. Resident DJ Sushiman will provide the music for the evening, and there will be shows by the infamous TP Lords in the main room. Downstairs in the Latin Room, Josefina and cast will be bringing the laughs with La Fiesta de la Croqueta Comedy Show.

But not all the stars will be on stage Wednesday night. “We’ve always thought that no matter who you hire as entertainment, it’s really the bartenders that are some of your biggest stars,” says Stedman.

“Nathan has been with us nearly 20 years and Mario more than 10. This is a classy team that brings it every night they work. Derek started out as a bar back when I was bartending many years ago, and we’ve been working together ever since. Derek and relative newcomer David create a unique team that keeps their guests giggling all night. Aquiles started very young and has grown into a real star. Antonio and Aquiles have made a sensational team in the Bar 5 Latin Room that has proven to be super popular. We celebrate all of our great teams of bartenders that make it happen night after night.”

We sat down with a few of these superstars behind the bars.

David and Derek behind the bar

David, Cocktail Bar

What’s it been like working with Derek all these years?

Derek’s greatest quality is that he is genuine. Definitely one of a kind. I’m happy to work alongside him each week. He’s been an amazing friend.

How did you get your bartending job?

I applied at an open casting and was chosen out of many applicants. I got lucky.

How long have you been there?

Nearly seven years now.

What’s the best thing about working at Twist? 

My favorite part of the job is meeting so many different people from all over. And having a family relationship with my coworkers.

Tell us something people would be surprised to find out about you?

I’m a geek but not a nerd.

Your bar is now smoke-free after 10pm. How’s that going?

Personally, it’s amazing. I’ll probably live longer. I think most people expect a nonsmoking environment. Since our bar is in the first room you enter at Twist and it’s nonsmoking, people don’t think twice about it. Twist has a place for everyone. 

What’s your favorite drink to make and why?

Martinis are my favorite because you gotta put your hips into it when you shake. A perfect pour makes for bragging rights and smiles all around. 

What’s the best pick-up line you’ve heard across the bar?

My favorite is, “Are you from Tennessee? Because you’re the only 10 I see!”

Derek, Cocktail Bar

How long have you worked alongside David?

Nearly five years now.

What’s that been like?

It’s been a blast. We get along so well. We have a lot of fun and we take care of each other. We’ve got each other’s back.

How did you get your bartending job?

One of our managers, John Roberts, was a friend of mine. He introduced me to Joel, who was bartending at the time, and I met Richard Trainor.

What’s the best thing about working at Twist?

The feeling of family among the staff — and getting to meet new people from around the world. I love working here!

What’s your favorite drink to make and why?

I love making Old Fashioneds, Manhattans, Long Island Ice Teas, Cape Cods, Cube Libres, and Margaritas. And opening bottles of beer!

What’s the best pick-up line you’ve heard across the bar?

So many pick-up lines! “Is your momma a chicken? Because you’re eggcellent.” “Are you sure you’re not a parking ticket? Because you’ve got fine written all over you.”

I like the funny ones that make me laugh. The really good ones will even give me the giggles when I think about them later.

Nathan, Video Bar

How long have you worked alongside Mario?

Almost a decade. He did move to New York for three years, but we never stopped communicating so I never really count that time apart. 

What’s working with him been like?

It’s been great. There’s nothing like forming a true friendship at work and having that relationship flourish outside of work as well. When Mario and I are together behind the bar, we work really well together. And at the end of our shift, we have the best time joking and letting go of all the stress.

How long have you been at Twist?

I’ve worked here for 18 years as of June 16. 

What’s the best part of working there?

I’ve grown up here. Literally. And Richard Trainor has guided me in work and in life. Honestly, he’s been one of my main supports, and that makes Twist feel like my second home. I am a very lucky man to be able to say that.

Tell us something people would be surprised to find out about you?

I’m a homebody, I live for my three Italian Greyhounds and my cat. Most people believe bartenders are wild and crazy people, but I’m the complete opposite.

What’s your favorite drink to make and why?

My favorite drink to make — and I know my fellow bartenders will not agree — is a Mojito. I love sweet drinks, and I make a killer Loaded Mojito. It goes down smooth but has a kick to it.

What’s the best pick-up line you have heard across the bar?

I have yet to hear a good pick-up line. I think when a true connection is made a pick-up line is not necessary.

Mario, Video Bar

How did you get your bartending job at Twist?

A friend introduced me to the general manager and, as they say, the rest was history.

How long have you been there?

I’ve been working for Twist 11 years.

What’s the best thing about working there? 

The best part is all the great people I’ve met. I’ve made some of my best friends while here.

What’s your favorite drink to make and why?

A Lemon Drop: raspberry, blueberry, or good, old regular. They taste so good and they hit the spot. My customers seem to really love them.

What’s the best pick-up line you’ve heard across the bar?

A customer once told me he lost his keys and left his phone and wallet in the car. He said he lived 30 minutes away, and he asked if he could stay at my place until his brother woke up to bring him his spare key in the morning. [Laughs.] By closing time, he had miraculously found his keys.

What’s the funniest thing that’s happened on the job?

A friend came down to visit, a friend who said he could hold his liquor. I told him I thought he was overdoing it a bit, but he didn’t listen. He quickly went from fine to throwing up all over himself. And he made it worse by using his hands to try and hold it in.

Later, he said it was because he just had a big dinner and ate too much — and “the Fireball shots reacted to it.” [Laughs.] I think he learned his lesson.

Aquiles, Bar 5 Latin Room

How did you get your bartending job at Twist?

I didn’t at first. My first attempt I was only 20 years old, so I had to wait till I was of age to be reconsidered. That’s when I went back for a second interview. I met with Richard and Joel and, despite my lack of experience, they decided to give me the opportunity and train me for two weeks in order to decide if I was qualified for the job.

How long have you been there?

Twelve years.

What’s the best part of working at Twist?

The diverse crowd of people from all over the world. And the staff also makes it great. Everyone gets along, giving it a fun and natural everyday flow.

Tell us something people would be surprised to find out about you?

I collect action figures.

What’s your favorite drink to make and why?

Long Islands. They take longer to make than a simple drink. But they require some craft, so making them can be entertaining for both bartender and customer.

What’s the best pick-up line you’ve heard across the bar?

“Are you tired? ’Cause you’ve been running through my mind all day.”

What’s the funniest thing that’s happened on the job?

Watching Katy Perry go around the entire club giving away beers to customers was pretty funny. And somehow surreal.

Twist’s 25th Anniversary Party starts at 9pm on Wednesday Jun 27 at Twist (1057 Washington Ave, Miami Beach). There’s never a cover. For more info: TwistSoBe.com.