Working the London Bars
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Jesper working at Roadhouse
The day had finally come when I was going to my first shift at roadhouse, sadly Codie was unable to work at Roadhouse but I was still very much looking forward to starting. For those who don’t know what Roadhouse is, it is one of the most famous flair bars in the world hosting flair competitions that are world recognised. The bartenders are both extremely fast and talented in flair.
After setting my foot in Roadhouse and signing all of the papers, I met the staff who proved to be really nice and after being shown around the different bars and storage rooms, I got a feel for what was expected of me. And before I knew it, it was time to start working. The first drink that was ordered was a Long island iced tea which is far from the hardest drink to make but I was still very nervous, as I wanted to impress the guys I was working with. I could really feel how intense it was working at Roadhouse and I understand why you needed to be both fast and entertaining since the crowd expected me to impress them with my advanced skills.
I attempted the best moves I could think of and felt good about myself, during the night I occasionally looked up to the main bar, and was amazed about how easy it looked when the other bartenders did their moves. As the night progressed I got more and more comfortable and soon my flair improved along with my confidence and before I knew it my first night was over. It felt like 10 hours were 10 minutes standing behind the bar at Roadhouse. My first shift at Roadhouse was at an end and even though it was my first shift my skills as a Bartender and Flair improved drastically. I was eagerly awaiting the second shift at Roadhouse.
When I arrived for my second shift I felt confident in my abilities and eagerly jumped behind the bar ready for what the night would bring. Very much the same as the night before except this time I would be jumping on the Flair Stage with Codie, we would be showing off our skills in front of not only the crowd but some of the best flair bartenders in the world. Of course we were both extremely nervous but we were ready for the challenge and soon it was time to jump on stage. I was to be introduced as the Stud from Sweden, which the crowd loved! Codie and I did our moves and within a blink of an eye our routine was over and it was time to get behind the bar again and start working.
With the adrenaline still coursing through me the night went by quickly and before long I was flaring without even thinking about it, every drink I made I added a little bit of flair, the customers loved it which made my night that more enjoyable. That night stands out as the best I’ve had as a bartender, here I am working in the best Flair bar in the world and also jumping on stage showing my abilities, I still pinch myself when I think about it. Overall my experience at Roadhouse has proved to be best Ive had yet on this whole journey and I’ve taken so much away from my experience, everyone I worked with was super friendly and taught me all they could. I have a new found desire to become the best flairer I can be and that is thanks to the Roadhouse and everyone that works there.
[ebs_redbox img=”http://www.tickettotheworld.net/files/2014/12/3618_bars_london_2.jpg”]Codie working at Cecil’s[/ebs_redbox]
Even though I was unable to work at the Roadhouse thanks to Matchstaff.com I was quickly able to find a job in London at a Speak Easy bar called Cecil’s. It was a short walk from London Bridge station and it was a tricky place to find if you didn’t know where to look. Tucked away down a little side street with no signs indicating where it is thankfully Jim McMahon and Andy Pope the Managers of Cecil’s were waiting for me and soon gave me a tour of the bar. As the bar had just been refitted that morning there was a lot of work to be done before the bar was ready for service. It gave me an opportunity to learn where everything was.
I was starting on a Wednesday Night which meant it wasn’t going to be an overly busy night which was would prove to be a good thing, as it takes sometime to be comfortable behind a new bar. Once everything was finished and the bar was ready for service we had a few minutes to admire the hard work that was done over the day, although I only arrived towards the end I could appreciate all the effort the other guys did in getting the bar ready for the night.
It was only Caspar and myself working behind the bar this night, Caspar truly has a passion for bar tending and it comes across when you talk to him, he is always learning and questioning what goes into a cocktail if he doesn’t have the exact ingredient needed he improvises. Even in one night he taught me to step outside my comfort zone when it comes to making a drink and always question why you add an Ingredient and what flavour it then gives the drink. Although my first shift was relatively relaxed it was a great opportunity to get a feel for the bar and talk to Caspar about mixology. Jim and Andy occasionally stopped for a talk to see how I was, which gave it an added touch to my experience as it felt like everyone genuinely cared about what they do and wanted to help me out if I needed it. The night was soon over and my first shift at Cecil’s had come to an end. I said goodbye to everyone and made my way back home, full of excitement at what Cecil’s could teach me.
The second shift fell on Halloween which is one of the busiest times of year for bars, and it would be no exception this night. I arrived at Cecil’s to see the bar fully equipped for Halloween, bats and spiderwebs hanging from the ceiling. We dressed up as zombies and made ready for the night ahead of us, Cecil’s had been booked by a private group of 90 people and it was all they could drink. It would make for a very interesting night ahead of us, the saving grace Andy and the other Bartenders had come up with a 5 cocktail menu just for the night which would make my night a lot easier as I still didn’t have all the recipes to memory. This night proved to be extremely fun with everyone getting into the Halloween mood and dressing up for the occasion, cocktails were flying out and before long the night started to slow down until eventually it was time to close the bar and usher the last few customers out. Thus it was end to my second night working at Cecil’s.
I would work there as often as I could, and over the course of the next few shifts I gradually grew into my own and became more comfortable with the bar and everyone I worked with. Everyone was beyond friendly towards me and gave me as much advice as they could. Jim McMahon is without a doubt one of the best hosts I’ve seen, as Cecil’s hosts a lot of theme nights, Jim truly immerses in each them and makes you feel and believe that you are there whether it be in the 1920’s Prohibition or celebrating Halloween, I have never met a better host then Jim. He made me not just think about serving drinks but my attitude behind the bar, as it’s just as important as your ability to make a good cocktail. He altered my perspective on what it is to be a bartender and because of him I walk away from Cecil’s a much better bartender then I was at the beginning.
Andy Pope has also drastically changed my idea of what it is to be a bartender, he took me under his wing and taught me in the time he could the many facets of what it is to be a bartender and to actually know what goes behind the alcohol I serve, where it comes from and what goes into it. He would have to be one of the most knowledgeable people I know on the subject. He always challenged me to learn more and to push myself beyond what I thought I could achieve. Thanks to him I have new goals for my future in the industry and I look to him as a mentor.
Overall I leave Cecil’s with a renewed vigour a desire to become the best bartender I can possibly be, and all this is thanks to the people who make up what Cecil’s is as a bar. My experience working in London ranks as one of the best Ive ever had as a bartender and I very much look forward to put into practice what I learnt from everyone at Cecil’s.