The face of Ireland for Gecko’s this St. Paddy’s Day, Fiona Farrell, gave TWIS the gulp on her gig as Gecko’s Beverage Director and Bar Manager of the Hillview location. A native of Dublin, Ireland, Fiona is no stranger to The Feast of Saint Patrick. Her vivacity, passion for family, great food and high spirits stem from childhood and are the perfect combination of talents for this weekend’s celebrations.
Fiona’s “love for the brew” started in a pub in Ireland — a warm restaurant and social club operated by her very own family. Gatherings in the sporty pub were inviting and frequent. She would help out with whatever duties needed doing and began to appreciate the science and craft of specialty beers.
After relocating to Georgia in her teens, Fiona studied theater, but her early passions drew her back in. Throughout school and after she stayed involved in the local pub and grub scene, which lead her to Gecko’s in 2011.
“I am very passionate about the local food movement, local breweries, local restaurants and more,” she said. “Working here is fun for me because I get to experience everything.”
Fiona has certainly injected her personal pizzazz into Gecko’s, and it shows! When she was hired, the craft beer selection numbered and has now expanded to include between 40 and 50 unique brews at a time, refreshed on a monthly basis.
Her focus is seasonal whenever possible and she has a special interest in exclusive collaboration beers. Striving for for balance, she will order around 3-4 IPA’s, Stouts, Porters and Hefeweizens--something for everyone to enjoy.
Her current craft faves?
By way of IPA, Fiona picks Rhizing Bines from the list, which is a featured collaboration between Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada.
For a Brown Ale, she recommends Cigar City's Evander Brown. This one is local, so it has been a huge hit with vacationers looking for a taste of the south.
Red Brick The Lost Years from Atlanta, Georgia is a tasty Old Ale for those of you who like a touch of sour.
Her all-time-fave is the Terrapin Rye Pale Ale also brewed in Georgia.
She has launched the Brew Guru Club at Gecko's on Hillview, which you can read more about here. Club perks include contests for great prizes and an exclusive Facebook fan page, where Fiona announces specials, newly featured drinks and the race to the top of the list.
Fiona is also quite the mixologist, take it from me, and she loves getting creative with cocktails. I think I'm going to call her Mixmaster Farrell from now on. Check her out in action!
Gecko's has been a town favorite for over 20 years and grew to 5 locations from their original Landings space. A recent partnership with Sarasota's own Honeyside Farms has kept them at the forefront of Sarasota dining. Gecko's loves keeping it local and we should love them right back for that.
Stop over and meet the face of Ireland for Gecko’s. Fiona would be honored to share a story or two with you-- in her smiling Irish eyes, "Everyday is an adventure!"
Gecko’s Hillview Signature Cocktail (Shhh! Don't tell!)
1 ounce of Pearl Plum Vodka
1/2 ounce of Arrow Triple Sec
A Splash of Sour Mix, Orange Juice and Simple Syrup
Served on the rocks with a sugar rim and garnished with a fresh squeezed lime
But, if you want to get Irish, you’ve got to do it with a Car Bomb
1/2 pint Guinness
1 ounce Jameson Irish Whiskey
1 ounce Bailey's Irish Cream
Combine whiskey and bailey's in a shot glass. Drop the shot into the pint of Guinness and CHUG! Don't stop till it's gone.
You will love to know:
- Her godfather is the retired brewmaster of the Guinness factory.
- She aspires to open a dinner theater someday.
- She wishes she could be everywhere at once!
- She gets to attend beer, wine and liquor shows all over. (Now, that's one to make us all envious.)