Guest spots are exciting. A real chance to exchange information from person to person without needing a glowing rectangle. In 2012 I took myself on a tour of a bunch of different bars in Toronto to see what everyone in the city was doing. Then it dawns on me that I have been writing on this blog for 4 years now. Ouff.
Anyway, for the first time in my bartending career, I find myself in a place and position where I can start hosting guest bartenders. Tomorrow (Wednesday August 31st) Shane Ely will join me behind the bar at The Harbord Room from 10 until…well, until we’re done.
Shane and I met when we were assigned to the same cabin at Camp Runamok last summer. Since then he has moved from Banff to Vancouver where he spends his nights making drinks at Nightingale and The Granville Room. He competed in a Jack Daniel’s competition that had him present his drink as though he was in a silent film and is currently part of Grey Goose Pour Masters.
The best part about guest spots is that you get a chance to see someone else’s style and check out their influences. I know when I watch a bartender from another city or country make drinks, I think of it like listening to a record by a new band. “Oh, that kind of has a Sonic Youth quality but with a Bad Religion backing vocal and Green Day pop hook” or whatever.
The exchange of information through personal discussion and working in alien environs is one thing that I believe makes for a better bartender.
Come watch Shane and I learn from each other.