You’re opening Schofield’s with your brother Joe, who won International Bartender of the Year in 2018. It’s interesting how you’re both in the same field. Can you tell us what drew you both to Bartending in the first place?
Joe actually started working in a local pub at the age of 16 which is arguably where his career started. I got my first job during a summer break at the age of 18 in Spain and it escalated from there, we worked in some of the best bars in the North of England, then moved onto major cities like Paris, Melbourne, Sydney, London & Singapore with a desire to learn. I think we both love the feeling of giving people a great experience, whether that be through playing great music, creating innovative cocktail menus or giving exceptional service to our guests.
So you’ve traversed the globe and the UK. Can you tell us which international city you enjoyed the most and why? What did you notice about the difference in peoples’ drinking habits?
I’ve always loved the Greek culture, they really treasure every moment of a social gathering, whether that be having a coffee, an aperitif or a late night drink! Athens will always have a special place in our hearts as it was the first city that we did a bar takeover in together!
What brought you to Manchester?
Manchester is our home city. We were born just on the outskirts and spent a lot of time here whilst growing up. We first had the idea to open our own bar about 8 years ago and for us, there was no where else we would rather open our first bar!
What makes Manchester stand out for you in the UK?
Manchester is rife with a culture that can be easily relatable to bars. There is such a rich history of music and nightlife here that it makes it an extremely exciting time for us to be back. We have also found that Northern people tend to have a natural sense of hospitality too!
What other bars / bartenders in Manchester do you most admire at the moment and why? You both have a wealth of experience in the drinks industry. Have you seen the bar scene change much over the years?
There are some great bars and bartenders in Manchester, we spend a lot of time in Hawksmoor because the quality of service is so high. The promising thing about Manchester at the moment is that so many new bars and restaurants are opening which are always worth checking out! We both really respect the Living Ventures sites as they are always consistent, the small details of getting a smile or a ‘hello’ as you walk in past 3 different members of staff. It isn’t easy for a large chain to keep delivering service like this, but they do really well! The bar scene has definitely changed since I was working here, which was back in 2014, a lot of smaller, more independent sites have opened serving more innovative cocktails and showing more progressive thinking.
What were your best selling drinks in other cities around the world? What do you think will sell best in Manchester?
We have seen a huge resurgence in classic cocktails in recent years. For the first 2/3 years that I was working in cocktail bars, the most ordered classic cocktails were a Mojito or Strawberry Daiquiri. Nowadays, the most ordered classics seem to be a Negroni or an Old Fashioned, this is a huge step forward for our industry!
Finally – how does it feel to be home and working together again?
It feels great to be home. There are many reasons why we decided to move back to Manchester, one being closer to family and another being that we see a lot of potential in this city. I’m really excited to be working with Joe once again, he has had a huge impact on my career and is arguably the main reason why I got into this industry in the first place.