Bar residency trend gathers pace

21st February, 2017 by Lucy Shaw

Mixologists are like sharks – they need to keep moving forward or they’ll die, creatively speaking at least. To keep themselves entertained, the cream of the crop have been busy creating pop-up versions of their popular bars in achingly cool cities around the globe.

Ago Perrone and Colin Field at the Bar Hemingway pop-up at The Connaught

This trend for temporary residencies is also mushrooming in the restaurant world. As we explored in last month’s issue, maverick chefs such as Noma’s René Redzepi, Heston Blumenthal of The Fat Duck and Alinea’s Grant Achatz have all recently uprooted their wildly successful Michelin-starred sites and distilled their essence into temporary pop-ups in progressive food cities such as Sydney, Tokyo, Melbourne and Madrid, giving them the chance to get under the skin of a new culture and its cuisine.

Bartenders are taking a similar approach with their pop-ups, embarking on them for the personal challenge and the opportunity to boost their international profile. One of the first mixologists to pioneer the concept was Colin Field, the dapper longtime head bartender of Bar Hemingway at The Ritz Paris.

Rather than by design, his temporary residencies everywhere from New York and Hawaii to Tuscany came about by circumstance when the famous hotel was closed for refurbishment for four years but the owners were so keen to keep him on that they paid his salary for the entire duration of his extended sabbatical.

In April 2014, he sent Londoners into a spin when he brought his Bar Hemingway to The Connaught for a week-long pop-up with the hotel’s head shaker Ago Perrone, which was playfully pitted in the press as something of a battle of the bartenders.

Though written in jest, Field reveals that you have to tread carefully when you rock up for a bartender residency, as mixologists are a proud bunch.

“I was worried about how the bartenders would feel when I walked in, as it can be territorially offensive to have someone else behind your bar. It’s a delicate psychological operation.”  Fortunately, Field said that Ago was the perfect professional throughout his London stay.

“The Connaught is his stage, and he was very generous to let me share it with him. It wasn’t a competition – we were both there for a good time and had nothing to prove,” he insists.

Among the most popular cocktails on pour during his tenure was Field’s signature sip, Serendipity, an effervescent marriage of Champagne, Calvados, apple juice, sugar and mint. He believes bartenders are better equipped than chefs to take their shows on the road. “Chefs aren’t necessarily great showmen, whereas bartenders are performing on stage every night,” he says.

“It’s been great to have the opportunity to take Bar Hemingway all over the world and give guests a taste of what we do at The Ritz Paris. Bar residencies have a bright future, but you can’t do it on your own – you need your team to back you up.”

New York speakeasy PDT (short for Please Don’t Tell) was one of the first bars to trailblaze the Inception-like ‘bar within a bar’ concept with pop-up PDTs at the Park Hyatt in Tokyo, Black Pearl in Melbourne, the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong and, most recently, at the Mandarin Oriental in Barcelona, where it enjoyed a month-long residency last September in collaboration with Diageo World Class.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Sales Executive (London – Craft Spirits)

Bimber Distillery
London, UK

2 x Buying Assistants

Berry Bros. & Rudd
Battersea and Basingstoke, UK

Temporary Christmas Sales Support - Wines & Spirits

Harrods
Knighsbridge, London, UK

Head of Wholesale

Hispamerchants Ltd
London, UK

Sales Manager

Hispamerchants Ltd
London, UK

National Sales Manager

Maverick Drinks
Field based, UK

Regional Sales Executive

EWGA
Gloucestershire, UK

Senior Content Writer

Rude Wines
Ledbury, UK

The World Bulk Wine Exhibition

Amsterdam,Netherlands
20th Nov 2017

The Drinks Business Green Awards 2017

London,United Kingdom
20th Nov 2017

The Global Spirits Masters Lunch

London,United Kingdom
1st Dec 2017
Click to view more

Green Awards 2017

Deadline : 25th October 2017

The Global Riesling Masters 2017

Deadline : 30th October 2017

Click to view more

Champagne Masters 2017

The only Champagne blind tasting in the UK, the competition will reward the best wines in the following categories:

The Global Rosé Masters 2017

With wines from the palest of pink to almost ruby red, bone dry to almost cloyingly sweet, reductively handled to barrel-aged, as well as gently spritzy to fully sparkling.

Click to view more