Benjamin Schiller is the beverage director for The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group and a partner in The Berkshire Room.
Since the age of 12, Schiller has been in restaurants. He’s gone from busboy to server to ad-hoc sommelier to mixologist (although for Benjamin, just 'bartender' will do, thanks). He's amassed a store of knowledge and experience along the way. And he's won a slew of mixology awards as a result of his background, passion, and talent for hospitality combined. He was named Bartender of the Year by Eater.com, named "Best Mixologist” at the Jean Banchet Awards, and finished first in a mixology competition hosted by Bon Appétit.
Before joining The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group, Schiller was most recently in charge of the cocktail and spirits program at Boka Restaurant Group for properties Boka, GT Fish & Oyster, and Girl & The Goat.
After his arrival to Chicago in 2001, Schiller became part of the opening team at The Peninsula Hotel Chicago where he learned wine, beverage, and service standards under the tutelage of its 5-star, 5-diamond personnel. He moved on to manage a nightclub on Rush Street, and later paired wine as a practicing sommelier at a few Chicago wine bars. Schiller, already immersed in the culture but wanting to dive even deeper, became a panelist for the Beverage Testing Institute and the head mixologist at In Fine Spirits.
Today, Schiller continues to hone his signature style: a progressive, even daring, and exciting take on the classics with seasonal and house-made ingredients at the highly-decorated Berkshire Room. Schiller's mission is to have a more personal relationship with the origins of the products behind his bar has garnered attention from several publications, including Bon Appétit, GQ, Esquire, Time Out Chicago, ABC News, The New York Times, Eater.com, Grubstreet, RedEye, Chicagoist, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, and others.
Schiller and The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group will open a 40-seat neighborhood cocktail called The Sixth in the heart of Lincoln Square this fall.