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Artesian at The Langham might be a �ve-star-hotel bar, but not
as you might imagine it, so convincingly has the team taken the
blueprint for such bars and thrown it out the window.
This is the inuence of Czech-born
head bartender Alex Kratena: under his
tenure, Artesian has been named world's
best bar three times in a row, but it's also
seen slushy machines, a cocktail-�lled
goat hide, paper panda decorations and
huge brass pineapples grace its hallowed
ground. Kratena isn't restricted by the
usual boundaries associated with �vestar
surrounds, and as a result, he takes
inspiration from just about anywhere.
'Anything and everything inspires us for new serves:
ingredients, nature, art, design, music, literature, languages,
places and experiences…' he says. The 'us' in this sentence
refers to Kratena's team, which includes close friend and
number two, Simone Caporale. For as long as we have been
writing about him, Kratena has insisted everything at Artesian
is a team eort. He's incredibly modest: 'I never think about
our work having a big inuence; the most important thing for
us is to be happy with our work. If anyone thinks that what we
do is inuential then that's amazing.' In fact, Kratena's inuence
stretches across the globe, and when he's not behind the
bar (which is his full-time job), he's ying all over the world,
spreading the gospel of good bartending.
THE COCKTAIL DEMOCRAT
Drinks industry whirlwind and London Cocktail Club founder JJ
Goodman now owns eight bars, and as we went to press, the
latest was set to pour forth the good times in Islington.
The 31-year-old entrepreneur has paved the way for a new
wave of contemporary bars encouraging much merriment
and loud music while still pushing out quality drinks, so that
Goodman's brand of bartending is best described as the
democratisation of cocktails.
He's enlivened by bartenders doing it
for themselves. 'Independence excites
me. Bartenders taking control of their own
careers and building their futures one
drink at a time - naturally those are the
people who inspire me most,' he says.
Goodman shot to food and drink fame
after he and business partner James
Hopkins won BBC2's The Restaurant with
Raymond Blanc in 2009. Despite building
his empire through a tough recession, Goodman isn't under any
illusions, and when it comes to making an impact, he's all about
better bartending culture. 'The industry's a �ckle place. "Impact"
is often lost faster than it is built. I hope I've added some positivity
to bartender culture - anything else I could take or leave.'
THE BOUNDARY PUSHER
When Ryan Chetiyawardana announced that he wanted his
�rst venue, White Lyan, to serve drinks made without ice or
perishables, the bar industry was shocked. It was inconceivable.
Two of the main reasons for such a move give insight into
Chetiyawardana's bartending style: accuracy (he wanted to
remove variability in the avour from the drinks) and hospitality
(by making all the drinks before service, sta are freed up to
talk to their guests). 'We wanted White Lyan to stimulate a
discussion with both consumers and the trade, and it's great to
see that take o,' he says. 'Of course, the positive reactions have
'We wanted White
Lyan to stimulate a
discussion and it's great
to see that take off'