(Read the Part One Here PART ONE)
The World Tour
For Giacomo Giannotti, co-owner of Paradiso in Barcelona, partnering with Mancino Vermouth and Citadelle Gin to share the Supercool Martini and Paradiso ethos has been an amazing experience. “The Supercool Martini is one of our signature cocktails where we use a newtechnique that freezes the liquid in front of the eyes of the guest.” The tour in 2018 includedstops in London, Berlin, Paris and Athens, all of which were a great success, and I can attest to the fact that the Athens Bar Show takeover of The Room at The Clumsies was so packed that the Supercool Martini’s sold out. As far as inviting people to come and bartend at Paradiso, Iwondered if Giacomo ever worried that guests would miss out on the true experience if they were joining for their first time. Says Giannotti “For us at Paradiso it is a great moment whenwe can learn from a leader in our industry. This is the main point for us, to learn and share an experience, and we feel that doing this consistently can help the entire bar community of Barcelona, because the bartenders that live here can come and see the work of a guest fromanother part of the world. We still serve our menu and the bar doesn’t lose its soul, but we can offer our customers a plus, the opportunity to try drinks from a top bartender.”
The Ultimate Hosts
The Clumsies is an industry favorite for so many reasons, but for the purpose of this article,we’re actually focusing on what’s above and below this iconic bar. The five owners, Thanos,Lefteris, Nikos, Vasillis and George, had the inspired idea of creating two additional event spaces so that they could host friends and industry greats from around the globe, without taking away from the Clumsies Experience on the main floor. The gritty, raw Basement, entered by climbing down a steep metal staircase on the sidewalk outside the bar, is reminiscent of a New York City restaurant underground storage space. It’s a blank canvas that can be molded byincoming guests to mimic their own bar or to create an alternate reality. And on the second floor of the building, you’ll find The Room, which has a bit more of a sophisticated feel to it, with its bookshelves, pool table and gorgeously crafted bar. This room gives off the feel that there may have been a few cigars smoked in the past and a few poker nights hosted here. During the Athens Bar Show this past November, The Clumsies hosted Barcelona’s Best NewBar Two Schmucks in the Basement in tandem with Paradiso upstairs in The Room. So the boys, in effect, had three bars under one roof for the evening, allowing people to bar hop without leaving the building. After the Bar Show had wrapped up and the dust had settled, I had a chance to see the two event spaces unoccupied and chatted with Thanos Tsounakas about howit went from a hosts point of view. “Each bar that we host carries its own unique style. There is a lot of inspiration shared and it’s a marketing win for both us and the sponsoring brand. Wetend to get many other bars on the Worlds 50 Best List, which are a strong and creative community.” Says Thanos. When asked about the events running in tandem during the show,Tsounakas recounted the evening saying, “Guests loved it and we loved it, we’ll definitely do it again next year.”
When Stars Align
Even some of the most experienced and awarded bartenders have their fantasy bar shift.Sometimes it’s about a location but even more frequently it’s about the people. We asked a few rock stars of the industry where they’d like to spend a few memorable hours and some of the answers might surprise you. “That’s a great question”, says Remy Savage. “At the risk of sounding like an idiot my favorite shifts are with the people I have been working with for years, you just get each other spatially, have the same standards and more importantly have a lot offun. Even though working a shift at Jerry Thomas sounds like fun, I don’t think the drinks willcome out as good and as effectively as they should, and at the end of the day the guests won’thave as much of a good time, no? Plus, I couldn’t really work properly being star struck and all”. Sullivan Doh, co-owner of Le Syndicat and La Commune Punch Club in Paris recounts his time working with a good friend down under. His first thought goes to reuniting with Mitch Ono Bushell who’s now in Los Angeles as Head Bartender of The Accomplice. “I had a lot of fun working next to him in Australia 7 years ago. He’s an inspiration and represents what is a bartender for me. Professional, funny, knowledgeable and has an opinion about every topic.
He takes as much pleasure to serve a beer than a high standard cocktail. I like his sarcasm”. Giorgio Bargiani reminisces “I would love to work one more night in a bar together with all thebartenders I’ve been working closely with at The Connaught Bar: Walter Pintus and Andrea Benvegna, now at The Mandrake in London and Vincenzo Pagliara now working at Shukhothai in Shanghai.” And Philip Bischoff, recently named Four Seasons APAC Beverage Ambassador and Beverage Manager of the upcoming FS Bangkok shares “Since I do like hotel bars and the atmosphere in and around them, I believe the American Bar at the Savoy in London would be something outstanding. I think it’s something very special to work in a surrounding with such history and so many stories to tell.” Well Philip, if The American Bar were to bend the rules for anyone, it bet it would be you…