You may recognize Brian Mazza if you watched socialite Tinsley Mortimer’s short-lived reality show, High Society, where he met her during a not-so-successful blind date. Shortly after, the two reconnected and they’ve now been a solid couple for a year. “Nothing is sexier than having a girl who works hard and kicks ass,” he says. “I was with a lot of girls who didn’t have any motivation, and she’s driven and is a career woman, and that’s the sexiest thing.”
Mazza is a workhorse himself. At just 27, he is a partner at the wildly popular New York City restaurant and bar The Ainsworth and is also director of hospitality for Paige Management Group. He has an air of niceness and humility you don’t see often in the booze-fueled world of bars and clubs. Perhaps that’s because he got his start in the tony fashion business, where a chance encounter with Rachel Uchitel—yes, that Rachel Uchitel, and no, nothing like that (she passed along a job opening to run the Hamptons hangout Dune)—led him into the nightlife world. His fashion background also informs his take on the places he works. “How you walk into a room sets the tone,” he says. “I want everyone to dress well, so right away they get that tone at the restaurant.” Mazza, who loves clothes, thinks it’s odd that “people ask me why I iron my shirts on Saturday.” And he laughs when asked if he’d be caught dead in flip-flops. “Never flip-flops. No way. It’s so skeevy. Even when I go to the beach I have Converse on!”
Mazza also sports an array of tattoos. “La Prima Famiglia”—family first, in Italian—is inscribed on the side of his forearm. Higher up on his triceps is “Leo,” a tribute to his grandfather who passed away. “My grandmother still looks at my tattoo and loves it,” he says through a grin. Elsewhere, roses and other quotes round out the well-groomed nightlife impresario.
“I really can’t stand when people get ink or a design that doesn’t mean anything, they just go and pick it out,” he vents, noting that every speck of tattoo he has is either familial or personal. “I’ll never, ever not be family first. Once you have that support and positive influence … the sky is the limit.”
Mazza’s solid background bore him an even temperament that makes him perfectly suited to talk a nonsensical shit-faced drunk customer down from an argument. “The customer is always right—even when they’re drunk,” he says. “Say you’re all drunk and complaining about a bill. I know you’re so wrong, but I’ll still work it out with you. You’ll sober up the next day, then realize I did you a huge favor—and you’ll be back.”