Well-known and well-acclaimed bartender, John Lermayer, was found dead in his apartment yesterday evening, The Miami New Times reports. He was 45 and left behind one son.
Respected in Miami’s bar world, and considered by many as one of the founding fathers of the city’s growing cocktail scene, Lermayer came to South Florida in the mid-aughts to help run the then Lenny Kravitz owned Florida Room. He later teamed up with Julio Cabrera at the Regent Cocktail Club and helped put prohibition-style cocktails on the map in Miami.
In 2015, he went struck out on his own — alongside Dan Binkiewicz of Purdy Lounge and David Martinez of Michy’s — to open Sweet Liberty. The bar won plenty of accolades including Best New American Cocktail Bar in 2016 and Best American High Volume Bar in 2017 at the Tales of the Cocktail festival, and most recently was named one of The World’s 50 Best Bars late last year coming in at number 27.
A rep from Sweet Liberty just released to Eater Miami the following statement:
It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Sweet Liberty’s founding Father, John Lermayer. John was the force and spirit behind Sweet Liberty and one of the most selfless and charitable people we knew. A dedicated father, award-winning bartender, mentor, friend and die-hard New York Rangers fan, John was best known for his animated personality, enticing cocktails, his love for people, travel and his son, Radek. It was John’s tireless work ethic and spirited personality that helped him create Sweet Liberty, a space that his neighbors and friends from all over the world could call home and a place to pursue happiness.
John passed on Wednesday peacefully in his sleep. We ask that you kindly respect the family’s privacy during this time and we will announce a celebration of life in honor of John in the next few days.
We have set up a GoFundMe.com page for his son’s college education that we ask people to contribute to.
From our entire Sweet Liberty Family, we love you John and will miss you always! #pursuehappiness
Update, June 7, 1:30 p.m.
This story has been updated to include a statement from Sweet Liberty.