Rather than spend December trying to predict the future, we like to look back over the past 12 months and reflect on the people in the bar industry who’ve had an undeniably great year. Here’s our admittedly subjective list of ten major players in the European bar industry in 2017.
The annual parade of end-of-year lists is here, including everyone’s favorite, the Top 10 Utility Regulation Trends of 2017. Our list aims to be more interesting – although not necessarily more complete – than that. 2017 has been a year where our ever-innovative industry got even quirkier, weirder, and more exciting. Of course, great progress and great drinks are being made by many more than just these 10 top bartenders. We wish we could include every amazing bartender in this list, but we had to narrow things down.
Major players in the bar industry
In no particular order, these are the people who’ve made a big impact on the industry this year.
Was 2017 Remy Savage’s best year yet? Last year was big – so much so he made our 2016 list of major players in the European bar industry – but this year he took things one step further. Having launched his ambitious Menu of Applied Architecture at Little Red Door in April, Savage had a headline-hogging autumn. He picked up the award for Best European Mixologist at the MIXOLOGY BAR AWARDS in Berlin, then on November 1st, he hotfooted off to the legendary Artesian to be head bartender alongside Beaufort Bar alumnus Anna Sebastian. The pair launched their new menu earlier this month.
In amongst all that, Savage also found time to become Instagram famous through his Bar Savage project. The account features drinks and recipes from Savage’s home bar, and is essential reading for anyone working with French spirits in particular.
One man who doesn’t need any pointers on how to use French spirits is Chris Moore, who launched his French-inspired bar Coupette in East London this year. The former head bartender at the Beaufort Bar could have taken his pick of high-end Central London bar jobs, but he joined with Bacardi Legacy 2015 winner Franck Dedieu, and Dan Schofield, the former head bartender at 69 Colebrooke Row, to take things in a different direction. Coupette has had critics and casual drinkers in raptures – including French bartender Sullivan Doh – since it opened in April. Nominated for Best New European Bar at the MIXOLOGY BAR AWARDS, Coupette missed out on the prize this time, but we’re sure that Chris Moore and Coupette are only just getting started.
Iain Griffiths & Kelsey Ramage
Trash Tiki, the travelling popup bar with a focus on making cocktails using waste, is taking over the world. Well, not quite, but their geographical spread can’t be ignored. They’ve crossed the US, taken their roadshow to the big bar conventions – Tales and BCB – and headed to Australia and New Zealand just in time to catch the southern summer. Their “anti-waste” recipes have already influenced big-name bars like Broken Shaker, and many others are adopting aspects of the Trash Tiki philosophy. The zero-waste trend predates Trash Tiki, but there’s no question that Trash Tiki’s non-nonsense punk attitude – and seemingly never-ending world tour – are helping to make sustainability mainstream.
Ryan Chetiyawardana’s Mr Lyan empire has become a major player in the European bar industry. Having closed the pioneering White Lyan this year, Chetiyawardana split the space into Super Lyan and the restaurant Cub, a collaboration with the owner of Brighton’s zero-waste restaurant Silo, Doug McMaster. It’s an ambitious undertaking – this breathless review from Time Out gives some insight into the venture. And just this month he’s launched a popup “hot-tail bar” dedicated to hot drinks, on the rooftop of London department store Selfridges. Don’t think the oldies lag behind though – Dandelyan came within a whisker of being voted the Best European Bar, finishing runner-up in this year’s MIXOLOGY BAR AWARDS.
Our sole entry from Germany is the ever-prominent Mr. Jörg Meyer. Together with Campari, the proficient legend was in charge of the off-BCB event Art of Hospitality, which brought stars such as Camper English, Monica Berg and Dean Callan to an event organized for those without BCB tickets. And his Boilerman Bar concept is going from strength to strength – just last month, Meyer opened the latest outpost of Boilerman Bar at Munich’s main train station (in the 25hours hotel) to great applause.
Now this is a man who’s been busy. Conigliaro launched three – yes, three! – new bars last year. Oh, and a gin. First there was Untitled, his first bar with a restaurant attached, in London’s Dalston, a bar inspired by the elements in its drinks. Bar Termini then got a sibling when Bar Termini Centrale opened at Marlyebone and then Luciole, his first Continental European operation in Cognac, France. Specializing in the eponymous liquor, his “all-encompassing cognac experience” opened in August. With plans for a restaurant and some extra rooms to sleep over in, Luciole is a destination to keep your eyes on in 2018.
Then there’s Goldy Gin, a collaboration between two Australians, restaurateur and designer Maurice Terzini and creative director Justin O’Shea, which Conigliaro helped the pair to develop. Tony C – can you please try and get some rest in 2018?
Erik Lorincz is head bartender at the American Bar at the Savoy – arguably this year’s bona fide awards darling. On its 128th birthday, it was named Best European Bar at the MIXOLOGY BAR AWARDS, as well as netting the top spot on the World’s 50 Best Bars list. All these accolades are largely thanks to Lorincz’s leadership and the success of the bar’s Coast to Coast menu. Launched earlier this year, it’s a menu which explores the folklore, history and landscape of Britain through the medium of drinks.
A fellow bartender at the American Bar at the Savoy, Martin Hudak, is making waves with his coffee cocktails. After twice narrowly missing out on the prize, this year Hudak won the Coffee in Good Spirits prize in Budapest with his adventurous coffee cocktail concoctions (and a surprise focus on the effect of climate change). Taking his knowledge global, he made it over to Melbourne’s Black Pearl and Sydney’s Eau de Vie for American Bar at the Savoy popups, and was a 2017 Diageo World Class UK finalist too.
Moe Aljaff is a globe-straddling, constantly surprising bartender – undeniably one of the most exciting in the business. This year saw his bar Two Schmucks get a permanent home in Barcelona, and establish itself as the best place to run full-scale bar takeovers – with the likes of Dean Callan (formerly of Milk & Honey) and Danil Nevsky (formerly of Tales & Spirits) getting involved. He’s working on a documentary about life behind the bar and squeezed in talks at BCB and the Art of Hospitality. Hardly a schmuck, is he?
Carina Soto Velasquez
As one-third of the Quixotic Projects collective in Paris (alongside Adam Tsou and Josh Fontaine), Soto Velasquez turned her attention this year to the museum Palais de Tokyo, opening up Les Grands Verres, a new Mediterranean brasserie and bar with a laser-like focus on sustainability. The venue also marked a new high for museum dining and drinking. Soto Velasquez’s pioneering Paris taqueria Candelaria made it to number 19 on the World’s 50 Best Bars list. She also joined our very own Liv Fleischhacker and Stil in Berlin’s Mary Scherpe in a talk about women in the bar industry at this year’s BCB – at a time when discussing the topic has never been more vital.