Convivial Darius Farzaneh, 38, longtime bartender at Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion in Rancho Mirage, prefers for customers and colleagues alike to simply call him Dar. “Or they call me ‘the Dartender,’” he says, chuckling. “That gets a lot of mileage.”
No matter his moniker, Dar—who has lived in the desert for most of his life, and who’s been working at Roy’s for almost eight years, four-and-a-half of those behind the bar—is one of those mixologists who truly enjoys every aspect of his job, from prepping for a busy Aloha Hour (AKA Happy Hour) to crafting cocktails to chatting with guests. “I love to work with my hands,” he says, “and there’s no cocktail I don’t enjoy making.”
Since Roy’s is known for its tropical libations, their signature Hawaiian Martini and Roy’s Island Mai-Tai are top sellers. “But if I want to make something that I enjoy drinking, I would think of the Negroni,” says the man who has a penchant for dark liquors like bourbon, rye, and whiskey. “Something a little more classic, something you don’t necessarily associate with the Pacific Rim kind of cuisine that we do here. There are quite a few people who come in here and who do want their classic drinks.” Thankfully, everything Dar shakes up is Roy’s food-friendly.
Another of Dar’s faves is the Rye Me a River, made with rye whiskey, cognac-based ginger liqueur Domaine de Canton, and just a bit of fresh lemon and honey. And a beverage that still has its training wheels on at Roy’s is the Spiced Mango Martini, which consists of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, fresh mango puree, a bit of the Japanese citrus yuzu, a dash of lime juice, and a tad of simple syrup. “It’s something we serve a lot on Martini Mondays,” says Dar, adding that on that night it’s “pretty much half-price.”
If you do decide to go see Dar at the bar any night of the week, tell him your pal Potter sent you. He’s there most evenings, not only fulfilling orders from busy dining room servers but seeing to it that none of his bar guests go thirsty. And speaking of which, Happy Hour at Roy’s is every day from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. “We just recently started doing an evening Happy Hour as well,” Dar is quick to add. “Nine to close. We close at nine on Sundays, so it doesn’t apply then. But Monday through Thursday, it’s 9:00 to 10:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday it’s 9:00 to 11:00 p.m.”
Well, all I can say to that is, “Cheers to my favorite Dartender!”