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Meet Stephen Kurpinsky of George’s at the Cove in La Jolla

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephen Kurpinsky.

Stephen, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve been in the bar and restaurant business since I was 15, moving into a bartender position at the young age of 22, and have been at it ever since. It’s been pretty rad seeing the industry change through the cocktail dark ages, into the cocktail renaissance, and now in this modern cocktail era.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Early in my career, I moved to San Diego from San Francisco on a whim. In a business based on relationships, I feel that may have slowed down my growth for a few years. I had to take restaurant management jobs because I wasn’t finding what I wanted as far as bar positions. Over the past 5 years, however, I’ve been lucky in a sense that I set myself some personal goals that were only obtainable if I pushed hard in a way that didn’t allow me time or space to look back. Basically, any setbacks I’ve had in the past few years were very short lived and seen as a period between growth.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the George’s at the Cove story. Tell us more about the business.
Currently, you can find me running the bar programs for George’s at the Cove, where I oversee the creative direction of the cocktail menus and was the main brainchild of George’s Level2 Cocktail Bar, which is a first of its kind, world-class cocktail bar for La Jolla.

Some of our uniqueness comes from my steadfast approach to creating all the necessary conditions for a creative atmosphere, the creation of a sandbox that allows others to contribute to the menu curation, and delivering on a one of a kind experience where our gorgeous view is enhanced with the ability to enjoy it with a world-class cocktail. We recently released our new concept menu, a hardbound cocktail “cookbook” style menu, featuring 23 cocktails inspired by the different neighborhoods of San Diego.

Each cocktail was photographed “insitu” in its respective neighborhood, and the book has lots of history of our town, as well as backstory on how we created each cocktail. In my spare time, I consult for Nórtico, a first of it’s kind, pre-prohibition speakeasy bar in Tijuana, Mexico, as well as run the local chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild as the current Chapter President.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I know it sounds cliché, and it won’t apply to everyone’s experiences, but I have found that you make your own luck in life. I used to sit back and wait for things to come to me, I found that strategy set myself up for bad luck more often than not. Once I learned that you need to go get the things you want from business or life, I found that most of the time you can steer away from bad luck, and follow your own path to success.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 1250 Prospect St La Jolla, CA 92037
  • Website:
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @sjberto @georgeslevel2

Image Credit:
Brogen Jesup, Jim Sulivan, Arlene Ibarra, Danguole Lekaviciute

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