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Rising Stars: Meet Chloe Henington

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chloe Henington.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I moved to Kansas City in 2016 from my hometown of Monroe, Louisiana after deciding the college I was attending wasn’t for me. I immediately started working in the bar scene and have made some incredible friends and connections throughout the years because of the industry. I moved here with maybe $300 to my name and lost a lot in the first year or two of moving to a new city. Now, I’ve made a name for myself in KC. So much so, I won The Pitch Best Bartender 2021! It’s been a crazy six years, but I’m excited to see where I can go from here.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Not at all. I didn’t really know much about the city when I got here. I moved into a tiny studio that I could barely afford and slept on an air mattress (that my cat ended up popping) on the floor for months. I didn’t have much direction as far as where to work and how to get there, considering I didn’t know anyone. I ended up losing my vehicle, having some belongings stolen, breaking not one but TWO bones and don’t get me started on how many incidents I had while trying to learn how to drive in the ice and snow… My favorite job I had ended up getting shut down in 2019 right before the holidays, with a five days warning as well. I’m always expecting the unexpected at this point.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I started in the service industry right as I was finishing high school. I’ve been behind the bar since I was 19/20 (that’s legal in Louisiana). I’ve served at a few places here in KC but truly felt at home behind the bar. I was lucky to get my foot in the door around May of 2017 and have grown a lot since. Winning “Best Bartender’ last year was such an honor, but I’ll be honest…I’m no mixologist! I can put together a few cocktails, but I don’t truly feel like that’s what makes you the best. I think I won because I have made so many lifelong friends from each bar I’ve been behind. The best encounters between bartender and patron are for me being able to be that therapist, friend or just lend an ear when needed. Sure, the shots and atmosphere are all part of the fun! I can do high volume all day long, but I think the differentiating factor is that I care about who comes to see me. If I can go above and beyond to help someone, I will. I also don’t have a “hospitality persona”, you’ll never hear my voice go up an octave or two to a guest, it’s all my genuine personality.

Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
I’ve had a handful of really awesome people throughout the years, and they know who they are, guide me to where I am today. Any advice I would give would be to shut up and listen to those who have done it before you. Watch and see what works and what doesn’t, and learn from that. Being your authentic self will take you far beyond what faking it will. That being said, if sometimes you feel like throwing a tantrum or losing your mind….definitely fake it ’till you make it.

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Image Credits
PBP – Patrick Binder Photography

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