In late March of 2014, Trapeze Bar opened its doors in East London, in the location formerly occupied by East Village, a venue famed for hosting some of the world’s finest DJs. Manning the bar at Trapeze is Haydon Turner-White, a bartender skilled in the art of crafting creative cocktails.
For me, the most enjoyable part of working at Circo was the team I worked with. We all had a cracking time when working all due to having a sense of humour, playing pranks on each other, etc. The fact that we all had a passion for cocktails brought us all together.
What sort of atmosphere are you aiming for at Trapeze?
Trapeze is based around a 1920’s freak show circus. Decor are juggling balls and batons, clown suits, graffiti and waltzer style booths. We’re aiming for a place where people can come to chill after work for some quality cocktails, or to stay for some late night drinks and dancing as we have a DJ from Thursday through Saturday.
It sounds like Trapeze will have an impressive lineup of DJs playing in the Basement Club. What’s the best concert or show you’ve attended?
I’ve not been to many concerts or shows. I’ll never forget my first music gig which was in Bridgewater, UK. I was always brought up around punk and other forms of rock from my dad always listening to it and the first gig I ever went to was to watch Stiff Little Fingers and I thought it was AMAZING!
Other than that, a comedian called Russell Howard is pretty huge here in the UK. I saw him perform to about 20-30 people as a special guest. He was testing out new material before he done his first tour in the U.S. so there wasn’t any publicity about him performing at the gig. I was only there because a friend of mine was one of the acts.
What’s the most challenging aspect of getting a new bar up-and-running?
As I’m not part of management I can’t really say what is the hardest part of getting the bar running. But from my point of view it’s learning all the specs for the new cocktails.
What skills or traits should every great bartender possess?
I think every bartender should be able to strike up a conversation with anyone. Being able to talk to people whilst making drinks and having banter with them keeps them coming back to your bar.
Do you have any cocktail creations that you are particularly proud of?
One of my favourite cocktails I’ve ever made is called Evans Heering Aid. It was for a cocktail competition that Circo set up call the Bath Bartenders League. The January competition was based around Evan Williams extra aged bourbon. The specs are as follows. 40ml Evan Williams, 25ml Cherry Heering, 15ml Briottet Creme de Peche, and 5ml of Benedictine. Stirred down and served ‘up’ in a chilled coupette. Garnished simply with a maraschino cherry.
In your opinion, what is the most underrated cocktail ingredient?
I’m not too sure, there are lots of things I’ve not heard of before and a lot of things other bartenders have created which can be used in a variety of cocktails. One thing I don’t use too often is Velvet Falernum. I think it’s super delicious.
What’s the strangest drink request you’ve ever received?
I still have yet to have a really odd drinks request. If somebody doesn’t want to have anything on the menu then I’ll get them to pick a base spirit, any flavours, sweet, sour, fruity, etc. and just create something with what I’ve got. I still have yet to have someone tell me I made something they don’t like.
Who is the most interesting person to ever sit at your bar?
When I worked pub bars, a gent had a meal and then had a few drinks at the bar. He was from the U.S. and had been travelling the world. North and South America, Australia, East Asia and Europe. Bath was one of the last stops on his list before going back home.
What do you drink when you’re not working?
When I’m drinking when not working it completely depends on the time of day/night, the weather, my mood and more. On a nice hot summers day in the beer garden, a nice cold, crisp pint of Aspall Draught cider is perfect for me. My go-to drink at the moment is a rum Old Fashioned with chocolate and orange bitters.
If you had to offer one piece of advice to someone just starting out as a bartender, what would it be?
If I was to offer a piece of advice to a new bartender it would be feel confident, act confident, be confident. I, personally, go by the expression “fake it ’till you make it.” Which is actually how I landed my first cocktail job. It’s probably not for everyone to live by though…