Shift Drinks is a new weekly column on WhatsUpNewp that hopes to highlight local hospitality professionals around town.  With so many unique, talented and passionate individuals working in the service industry, this series aims to introduce some new faces, feature some familiar ones and give you an insight into their lives outside the workplace.  

Basically, it’s a series of questions.  We asked each participant to answer as honestly or jestfully as they please but to stay true to their personality in the process. I was inspired to start this column after reading the lookbook questionnaire segment that PUNCH magazine publishes.  Featuring service industry professionals from across the country, PUNCH’s ‘Lookbook’ emphasizes the individual and gives perspective on the person, rather than the professional.  

When I was writing down my first list of initial candidates, my friend and a former colleague came to mind.  Her genuine demeanor and kind spirit were two qualities that shined and anyone who’s had the pleasure of meeting her will tell you the same.  

Justine King is the Assistant General Manager of The Mooring. She got her start in restaurants at age 15, working for her family at the former Axelsson’s Blue Claw in Cape May, NJ. Before joining the management team at The Mooring, Justine waited tables there for six years while she helped co-found and develop the now Boston-based non-profit organization, Flying Kites. Justine graduated from Salve Regina University in 2007. She lives in Portsmouth with her husband, Tyler, and son, River, and she is getting ready to welcome a baby girl in March.

Shift Drinks is proud to welcome Mrs. Justine King to the column!

Current Occupation? Assistant General Manager of The Mooring

What do you want to be when you grow up? I think I am what I want to be for the most part. I’m a wife, a mom, and a professional in my industry. My career path and interests will change and evolve over time, and I’d like to try new things, but I feel good about where I am today.

The best thing you ever drank? Cilantro Jalapeno Margarita at Perro Salado

The worst thing you ever drank? An ‘Alligator Tail’ on my 21st birthday. Equal parts Jägermeister, Midori, and Grenadine….in a martini glass.

You’re offered a shot, what are you shooting? A good tequila

Favorite bar in town? The Fifth Element

Favorite bar out of town? The Ugly Mug in my hometown of Cape May, NJ

If you had to listen to one album on loop for the rest of your life, what would it be? Can I pick two? Bob Marley’s ‘Legend’ and Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born in the U.S.A.’

What’s the weirdest hobby you have had or currently have? I decided to spruce up some closet staples for Christmas last year and tried to hand stitch sequins to the collar of my favorite flannel. It took weeks! My sewing days were short-lived.

Ideal Newport meal. Favorite App, Entree, Dessert, Drink? I’d start with Stoli Dolis at 22 Bowens, followed by Sicilian Littlenecks at Scales & Shells, then Shrimp Pad Thai at Salvation Café, and I’d end my night with Soft-serve vanilla in a cone with rainbow sprinkles from Frosty Freeze.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known ten years ago? Life and its various stages happen quickly, and ten years go by in the blink of an eye, especially as responsibilities and commitments increase. If you put off doing things that interest and inspire you, like traveling or trying something creative, because you think there will be a better time for it in the future, think again.

What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not working? Spending time with my family. In the winter we love lazy mornings at home and making improvements to our house in Portsmouth. In the summer it’s boating and fishing, beach days, going to concerts and sipping a nice cold glass of rose while doing any of the above.

Preferred hangover routine? A fountain diet coke and fries from McDonald’s drive-thru usually does the trick.

Biggest pet-peeve while working? When I smile and greet someone warmly when they come through the door and the first thing they say is ‘What am I supposed to do with my parking ticket,’ or something of the like.

If you had to drink only one alcoholic beverage for the rest of your life what would it be? If I wanted to live for a while it’d have to be a decent Italian Red. I believe in the benefits of red wine.

Last meal? The last meal I ate (sweet potato gnocchi, grilled lacinato kale, and agrodolce sauce) or what would be my ‘last meal’ (Christmas dinner as prepared by my grandparents for most of my life: Mimi’s caesar salad, prime rib, broccoli au gratin, and a baked potato).   

What’s your spirit animal? A dolphin. They live in the water, are very smart, seem to have a sense of humor, and represent two things that are important to me: balance and harmony.

Biggest fear? The unknowns of parenting, also the source of so much joy.

Favorite movie? Overboard

Weirdest request you’ve ever been asked while working? The fiancée of a woman who was having her bachelorette party that night called ahead to pre-order champagne for the table and asked if I would be willing to read aloud a note he had written to her. I agreed and had him e-mail me the note. Upon receiving it and giving it a brief skim, I came across some very personal, very inappropriate details that I most definitely would not be reading out loud in the dining room. Instead, I printed the note and gave it to the bride when she arrived. She was blushing for the next two hours.

If you had one superpower what would it be? I’d want the ability to heal people.

Tyler Bernadyn
Tyler Bernadyn at Midtown Oyster Bar

Tyler Bernadyn is a local hospitality professional, bartending at Midtown Oyster Bar Wednesday through Sunday nights on the Burgee Bar and at Caleb&Broad on Monday nights for their award winning $10 entree dinner special.

Tyler is a graduate of Providence College and a true Rhode Islander, born and bred.

Email him at and follow him on Instagram at @tylerbernadyn.

Tyler Bernadyn

Born and raised in the Ocean State, Tyler is a Providence College graduate ('11) who proudly calls Newport home. A professional realtor by trade, he prides himself on building relationships and sharing...