Inspiration

Meet the Filipino Who's Tended Bar at New York's Trendiest Joints

Enzo Lim was named one of the city's Most Stylish by Time Out New York.
IMAGE Roy Macam
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We grew up together so the disorientation is excusable. I’ve known him since we were young boys and we have landmarked similar sites in our lives—from sleeping over, playing Dungeons and Dragons, and trading mixtapes, to dabbling in vices, jockeying for the favor of girls, backpacking across Europe, and settling in New York—and the only predictable characteristic of Zo is that he isn’t.

Enzo can be shy or social to the limits of affection. He can be stubborn to the point of exasperation in regard to things he is passionate about, but otherwise exhibits a languid, almost nonchalant air. He can be cavalier and a bit of a dilettante, or intensely focused. He is popular, free of artifice, and irritatingly good at getting away with eccentric fashion that would look foolish on just about anybody else. He’s an enigma sporting a fedora, a Hawaiian shirt, and a mustache of some prestige.

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Of certain things, there can be no debate. This a man who takes his craft seriously. It is not enough for him to be proficient; Enzo requires immersion. He was always musically inclined, and his tastes encompass a wide gamut. He has played in various bands, released records, and, when the infrequent opportunity arises, will DJ with commendable skill.

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Currently, Enzo is known for his presence in the food and beverage industry. In New York City, he is involved with two successful restaurants, Maharlika and Jeepney, which have garnered much acclaim. In Manila, his services as a professional mixologist are in high demand. This he approaches with fervor and a genuine respect for the tradition. Whether it’s designing a completely novel custom cocktail or making an old fashioned, be it arcane or commonplace, his methodology is consistent: meticulous, reverential, and personal. And that little box of esoteric ingredients he likes to produce during events doesn’t hurt his appeal either.


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While the patterns of his life may appear random at times, there is a discernible design appearing on the canvas. He has momentum on his side, he has his talent, he has that mustache, and more importantly, Zo has a larger picture in his sights. We can only hope to be part of it.

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Martin Valdes
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