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Tenzin Samdo

Bartender, Café ArtScience

If bartender backgrounds are always varied, Tenzin Samdo’s is still definitely less typical. He grew up in India, a Tibetan refugee after his parents escaped Chinese occupation. And he might have stayed in India, but his parents won a lottery to come to the United States, landing Samdo in America in 1996, a high school student in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Being in close proximity to Boston’s bar scene didn’t make him spiritually ready for it. Samdo became a theater student, studying set design, film, and photography. He worked at a bar only to make extra cash. As Samdo tended bar, he noticed his attention to detail turned his drink-making into a tiny obsession. When a friend introduced him to Instagram, Samdo half-enthusiastically posted a picture of one of his creations. The next morning, he had 100 followers—and soon after, followers of high caliber, major spirits companies.

When his Instagram account blew up, so did his job prospects, with job offers coming in left and right. A food lover by heritage, too (with lots of family in Tibet and Italy), Samdo had always been an admirer of Jody Adams. So when he heard Adams was looking for a bartender, he jumped at the chance to turn the unlikely outcome of his travels and travails into a full-time, blossoming career.

Samdo then moved on to manage the bar at Tavern Road in Fort Point, where he served up his creative and Instagram-worthy cocktails or just over a year. Currently, he is a partner at Café ArtScience, where he’s working on a brand new cocktail menu inspired by global flavors and exotic animals.

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