MECHANICSVILLE, Va. -- Some artists use paint and others clay. Frank Oley’s canvas? An empty glass. His medium? Adult beverages.
“It is my passion I love this,” said Oley. “I like liquids. I’m a natural at it.”
The professional mixologist is stirring things up from coast to coast.
“This is your show back here. It is like Louis CK, Eddie Murphy… their stage is comedy. The Apollo Theatre. That is their stage. My stage is the bar,” said Oley.
It's not only his drinks that could make your head spin. His drink-making demonstration is mind bending too. Fire and ice are all part of Oley’s show from burning cedar wood to liquid nitrogen.
But while the cocktails are his specialty the customer always comes first.
“I always preach PMA, positive mental attitude,” said Oley. “You’re there to make people laugh. Show them a good time. Be yourself.”
Oley worked in restaurants in his teens and 20's, but never dreamed about a career behind the bar. The Henrico native’s life took an unexpected turn during a month’s long camping trip in 2004.
A friend asked him to work at a new craft cocktail bar in Southern California. The self-taught showman found his calling. Oley hasn't looked back.
“It wasn’t till I went to L.A. that I said ‘Wow. I have a real natural talent,’” said Oley. “It is your circus. It is your movie. It is your sitcom. It is your stand-up comedy.”
The energetic 37-year-old's hidden talent started turning heads including a long list of celebrities.
“The cheapest part of your uniform is your smile. When you stir you smile,” he said.
Oley was even named one of the best bartenders in all of Los Angeles.
“This was the first competition I ever entered and got first place,” he said.
But the pull of the East Coast was strong. Oley relocated to the Big Apple in 2008 where his talents were splashed across headlines.
“There were 20 something contestants in New York. And I ended up winning in all of New York,” said Oley.
Rema Oley said her husband’s passion for life seeps out of every pore.
“I love it. It is awesome,” said Rema. “That is who he is 100% of the time. That is Frank Oley. It is. He is the same person behind the bar and outside the bar.”
Six months ago the couple relocated to Mechanicsville. Oley is already making his mark on RVA.
“Being that my family is here and this is my hometown. I love it,” he said.
One part artist. One part mixologist and a healthy dose of performer. Oley said The Oley Way is his recipe for success. That's good to the last drop.
“I love it. It is what I love to do. I love it,” he said.
Now back in Richmond, Oley works private parties and corporate functions. Oley even wants to teach "The Oley Way" and his technique to the next generation of bartenders. An art form that is truly top shelf.
If you want to get in touch with Oley you can reach him at theoleyway.com.
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