Gilbert Marquez grew up in an Anaheim neighborhood, where you were either a punk rocker or in a street gang - he was in a political Spanish punk band called Venganza. Marquez spent a lot of his teen years touring Cali and Mexico, where most of his band’s shows benefitted immigration reform or after school youth programs.
Marquez started his hospitality career at 320 Main in Seal Beach, CA but was a day laborer before that and made a brief move to Atlanta after. He got involved with Ilegal when the owner, John Rexer, came in to Escopion, the first mescal bar in Atlanta. Marquez wanted to show him a good time during his stay, and proposed a trip to Diamonds of Atlanta and Waffle House. They became fast friends and often travel together to this day.
When Marquez returned to Los Angeles, he led the cocktail programs at well-known Latin restaurants and lounges Mexicano, Mercado, El Carmen, and Tacoteca. He has worked to develop his own personal style when making cocktails, playing not just with flavor but also with form and perception.
He often travels to Oaxaca to stay current in what is new on the mescal game, along with consulting on the bar and cocktail program for Casa Estambul, whose owner is a Oaxacan artist named Dr. Lakra.