Meet the Bartender: Brendan Ambrose
Brendan Ambrose serves as both the lead bartender and lead gardener at Firefly, a popular fixture in DC’s Dupont Circle neighborhood. Under his leadership, Firefly’s bar team creates an atmosphere of hospitality and comfort to accompany the cocktails that Brendan is proudly growing from rooftop to glass.
A native of Montgomery County, Maryland, Brendan began his bartending career in Bethesda before moving to the Eastern Shore and later Delaware, building his bar experience in notable establishments. During his 12-year seaside bartending tenure, he was awarded “Best Bartender at the Beach” runner-up by The Shark on the Harbor Restaurant in 2007 and 2008, and was named one of Washington DC’s “Top 100 Bartenders” by On Tap Magazine in 2011.
By the time he became the beverage control manager and lead bartender at the exclusive Bear Trap Dunes Golf Course in Ocean View, Delaware, Brendan had not only sharpened his skills behind the bar but also honed his managerial expertise. This led to his return to DC, where he worked for four years as general manager at one of the largest sports bars in the city, Buffalo Billiards.
Brendan single-handedly revived Firefly’s rooftop garden, using upcycled pallets and soil that is mixed with composted food from the restaurant. Leaning into Firefly’s commitment to seasonal, sustainable ingredients, he transforms 80 percent of the rooftop’s harvest into house-made syrups, cordials, bitters, and garnishes for Firefly’s cocktail menu. Leveraging over 20 years of hospitality experience, he draws inspiration from the seasons and everyday life to create a bar program perfectly suited for travelers and locals alike.