Tending to some action and fun from behind “the bar”
Party poppers and hip hoppers unite! The tide is changing after all. No more are we going to let the real heroes and stars behind the eventful evenings, the late night outs at fancy bars and expensive pubs lie under an oasis of obscurity.
You can dance and drink all you want and trip over the dance floor for all you care but time may just be right to serve a drink or two of appreciation and regard to where its actually due!!
Yes, we are speaking for the men behind the action, who actually serve you the tint of exuberance, dash, zing and excitement without which no party can be ever complete.
Just like a party cannot be called so in the absence of that perfect cocktail, you cannot fathom the real décor of a gathering unless it has the exquisite offerings of that lad known as the bartender. He is an expert in his own right who serves you the verve of unparalleled exasperation you seek from a duo.
As we look around us, we find tremendous appeal in the story of men who have groomed themselves and are now nurturing a host of brands and the ‘want to be’ in the world toward exploring themselves in the utterly competitive trade of bar management in the beverage and hospitality industry.
What’s Up Gurgaon soaked some sun and burnt some ice over a few drinks with 3 men from different walks of life who are an inspiration to many for their skills at the “Bar”. Yeah, that’s the place where the action unfolds.
Are you game for a drink?
Blending youthful exuberance with masterly skills in the glass
A happy face with a sense of contentment. A pocketful full of high hopes, drive and a sky-full of ambition, Nitin Tiwari is all this and more. Here’s an ever smiling, cheerful lad who works with a zest in an industry that can consume you easily.
But, stress or worry don’t seem to derail Nitin Tiwari whether he’s consulting an established brand to consume the minute observations of the beverage and hospitality industry or nurturing the rising “want to be'” in the market to reach a position of repute and recognition.
The man responsible for planning the Advocacy program for all of Bacardi’s brands, including- Bacardi Rums, Grey Goose, Bombay Sapphire, Dewar’s, Eristoff Vodka, Martini etc. has led a successful and memorable stint in the utterly competitive and glamorous trade of bartending and bar management.
This 30 something is an inquisitive learner, driven to learn and adapt to changing consumer tastes and likes in an industry that runs on the parallels of suave, glam and style. But, for some reason making the perfect cocktail isn’t enough to quench the thirst of Tiwari who has done all that and more whilst successfully designing and executing drink strategy for all Bacardi brands.
A resume that shines with multifarious innovative cocktail promotion plans, Nitin, who has come a long way ever since starting out with the Hyatt in 2007, has planned and managed bar operations during signature Bacardi brand events such as the Bacardi NH7 weekender, Eristoff Invasion, Grey Goose IIFA awards, Grey Goose Style Du Jour to name few.
In an age where Wine tasting is no longer associated with the social dictum of ‘cool’, Nitin has leveraged his people skills and exceptional managerial skills and used it to good extent in bridging the gap between a beverage brand and its audience. He is regarded for conceptualizing and executing the first Cocktail Training academy, in Down Under in the magnanimously beautiful city of Adelaide. Titled, “The Cascade cocktail Academy”, the youngster who’s held a special bond with Australia all thanks to his education from Le Cordon Bleu, is exploring richer avenues toward broadening a shiny portfolio that shakes, stirs and evokes emotion from the soul.
After a successful 4 yr stint with Bacardi, Tewari then ventured into projects that allowed him to be sucked into a galaxy of thought and innovation, inspiration and smart combining of elements that make your brain bulb turn bright . The two most sought after projects of the past year – Ek Bar, defence Colony and Flyp @ MTV. The Cocktail menu at Flyp@MTV is literally a map of cocktails , with alcoholic mixes inspired by elements of every particular significant country. At Ek bar, the cocktail menu is an interesting layout made to be in sync with the rest of this modern Indian themed bar. People flock to this place to try “the cocktails”..well it just got bigger- the bar was awarded the best cocktail at the Times Food & Nightlife Awards 2016 with Nitin Tewari also bagging the Mixologist of the year award at the same. Now having opened Together At 12th on the 12th floor of Le Meridien Gurgaon, Nitin has found his release. Watch out for more because this lad never uses the shut down button on his globe travelling mind.
A drink, after all is merrier than just its taste, for it brings people together and manufactures conversation. One is sure, Nitin Tiwari wouldn’t underplay his own contribution in doing a bit of the above. Modesty? Let’s keep it for another day mister.
Smart elegant and graceful, like the perfect cocktail
Courteous, Soft Spoken and Humble. These are barely the ‘starters’ on the menu that bear a hallmark reflection of Yangdup Lama’s personality. A connoisseur of fine taste and free-flowing times, served in the heady cocktail of life, there is more to Yangdup Lama and his refined craft in the sphere of Cocktails- mixology and consultancy- that meets the eye. Whether its awards, parties or media features in national dailies and top notch television media, Yangdup Lama, a passionate entrepreneur and a skilled professional par excellence in the Cocktails, Bar Management and Mixology industry has pretty much seen it all.
The cheerful face that lights up at the mere mention of spinning out a cool drink to bring the ‘house on fire’, is also a witness to the changing tides in the Hospitality and Bartending business, having been around for over 2 and a half decades in India and elsewhere. Starting out young as most driven individuals pursuing their hearts do, Lama who currently heads Cocktails& Dreams/ Thirsty Three Hospitality, a Bar and Beverage Consultancy Company, has created an indelible mark in a space many have drained out trying.
While Hospitality is largely recognized as an organized industry speaking of specifics, Lama created a niche in the lyrical exuberance of modern bar-tendering. The elegantly dressed mid aged gentleman is less of a believer in the charades that the glamorous industry has come to acquaint itself with and resorts to passion and a drive to give that ‘extra special’ that party goers, club visitors and bar-frequenters yearn for, in that ‘perfect drink’ that only a checkered luminary behind the ‘bar’ can present.
At the moment he is as busy as he was when he started out as a passionate youngster keen to explore himself in a space that wasn’t particularly marked out for fame, glory or the bucks: beverage and bartending. Now, re-affirming the class and consistency a checkered journey that began with the Hyatt Regency in New Delhi, post which a long list of mobile bartending beckoned, Yangdup Lama is an entrepreneur fully devoted to extend bartending consultancy toward aspiring professionals.
After all, it’s all about the ‘dexterity’ of the fingers, in a trade where he is expected to churn out the extravagance in the glass as a measure of something to ‘cool off’ with. Always a keen learner of the tricks of the trade, that govern the encore of the hospitality business, Lama also keeps himself occupied with consulting a host of luminaries from the hospitality/beverage industry including Pernod-Ricard, United Spirits, Diageo and Angostura.
But, one reckons it mustn’t have been that easy for the man who hails from Darjeeling to spin out some magic from behind the bar in cities that thrive on glitzy fanfare. Adjudged the “Indian Bartender” of the year way back in 1996, Lama holds the hospitality industry two decades hence as one marked with intense competition and at a confluence of constant creativity amidst unpredictable times.
It is isn’t too surprising to note the sheer abundance of new places; eateries, bars, restro-lounges out there. And, along with that comes the gripping challenge onto the owners of hospitality to constantly stay ahead in the game. In so doing, a lot ‘depends on the bar tender and his skills’! Can he deliver something exquisite, enticing and special, churned with his own uniqueness and personality that keeps the people glued to the place”, is the truth of our times and this challenge, asserts Yangdup Lama.
Well one is sure, if there’s someone like the pleasing Mr. Lama offers special insights from ‘where the action unfurls’, amidst the madness of conversation, laughter and fun and frolic, life is sorted for the many Yangdup Lama’s in the making out there.
The people’s person from behind the bar : shaken but not stirred.
The Indian bartending scenario is one stifled with immense competition and an incessant need to constantly reinvent oneself, for this is a unique industry. Is there a single day in the hospitality and beverage industry where chaos, confusion, complexities aren’t tied to constantly gripping challenges?
Sandeep, aka Sandy Verma wouldn’t think so! But, for sure, from someone who has commanded a checkered resume in an industry snowballing into millions wouldn’t insist on giving into the chaos. You would expect, Verma to come out all guns blazing and glasses tingling in a response that has the icy-cool taste of something that soothes your senses and calms you down amidst the chaos of everyday life.
He’s been doing just this and more for decades, establishing himself as an understated icon of the bartending industry in India.
Calm, experienced and extremely dignified, Verma has been around for a long time in the space and has churned out an eclectic journey primed with esteemed stints with wine cellars (such as La Rochelle, The Oberoi to quote), discotheques at Le Meridian, Gurgaon among the primary destinations for party hoppers in the NCR.
While distinguished stints with giants of the hospitality industry outside India, such as Heritage International Hotel in Dubai (where he handled the first British pub called Broker’s Bar) created a hunger to engage with global clientele, this people-oriented person, who also happens to be a role model to the gung-ho youngsters looking to established himself, has set afoot in the myriad geographies of Maldives, Sri Lanka, Croatia, Monte Negro, Singapore, Malaysia, France, the UK, Zambia and Belgrade.
His in-depth knowledge tied to a skilled repertoire of holding the most checkered and unique concepts in bartending have given India a kaleidoscope of the best practices in an industry that negates the ‘dull, repetitive or the have been’.
Once, the backbone of Dubai’s most famous night club, Staying Alive, Sandy has set the ball rolling in India’s favor given his stellar global experience in an industry he’s himself readied in India with his wisdom, wit and that cheerful smile. He’s been into the ‘banquets’, the brawly bars and held on to his élan.
Using the phrase, “bartending is like a religion for me’, Sandy gave his all into created BarWizard Bar School, also known as Institute of Bar Operations and Management. Having personally been involved in the personality development and skill development component of over 4000 bartenders from around India, Sandeep who has walked miles between Delhi and Mumbai, holds the respect and regard of individuals from around the world.
For all this and more, he’s not just an effervescent manager but ever a smiling and motivating people’s person. Take a bow sir!