Bartender Interview : Nick Hawkins

Having mixed at quite a few big places like Taj, Olive & Red Light, Mumbai, working as a consultant for Taj - Chennai, owning a bar in Goa, & now handling Zara`s bar in Pune, Nick has come quite a long way is his bartening career of over 12 years.

Why did you decide to get into bartending?
Actually I didn’t make a conscious decision to get into bartending. I was 16 and wanted money. So decided to take up part-time work at a bar in UK – Melonis. I started cleaning tables and collecting glasses to begin with. After spending some time at the bar, I started liking the whole night life, enjoying the crowd at the bar, and also realizing that I am not so good at academics, moved over as a full time bar back. Melonis had 287 cocktails on its menu and it took me 6 months of rigorous hard work to be a bar back to begin with. It included working late and going home & staying up late to read the cocktail list and knowing what goes in what. One thing lead to another and I did a sponsored flair course as well with them and in 12 years, I am where I am.

How did you go about getting your first bartending gig? Was it tough to land your first one?
I was sitting with my sister and her boyfriend at the bar quaffing a beer (I was underage, but what can you do about it now?? Hehe). On my sister’s suggestion I walked up to the manager of the place to enquire about any jobs. Looks like I was successful in working my charm with the owner’s wife (the manager) and landed myself with the job. So no, it was not too tough!!

What is your favorite drink ?
To drink: Beer
To make : (After much mulling) – An Old Fashioned. It takes about 12 minutes to make an old fashioned properly.

What is your least favorite drink to make?
Anything blue in colour. There is no fruit that is blue in colour. I dun understand why we should use Blue Curacao at all!!! Blue berries don’t count – Sorry.

What is your bartender pet peeve?
Rude customers or customers who interrupt when you are busy with another customer.
Dirty Bars and stinky bars.

What’s the most interesting/scandalous thing that’s happened to you on the job?
No comments – involves a lot of girls!

What’s the most memorable pickup line you’ve heard?
Just 24 hours back there were a bunch of women who went wild and started dancing on top of the bar. One of them asked me out – not once – twice.

Who would YOU want to have a drink with and why?
Nicholas Cage from Leaving Las Vegas cause I think he comes around as a hilarious chap to me.

Tell us one thing about tending bar that we might not know?
There are two things:
1) There are at least 2 or 3 hours of cleaning and other dirty work after closing the bar. So customers should really understand and respect that the bartender’s job is not over. They must stop harassing him for that one last drink.
2) Bartending is a full time job and it can be dangerous for your personal life. Relationships can go through a lot of stress due to lack of time being spent with each other.


2 Responses to "Bartender Interview : Nick Hawkins"

Martin said... July 17, 2009 at 4:44 AM

need to introduce Dr. Manhattan to him ! it's BLUE in color ! :P

Anonymous said... March 16, 2010 at 4:50 AM

getting to know the opinions of people involved in bartending is always interesting

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About Shank

Shank is a cocktail enthusiast & a self-proclaimed mixologist. He likes to experiment with spirits. He has traveled around a bit visiting hundreds of bars and tasting the buzziest of alcohols, cocktails and shooters.

Shank spent early years of his dizziness in Mumbai. He has lived in Hyderabad for long and for the past few years is chilling his glass in Bangalore.

He is currently busy spreading his love for spirits through this blog - Cocktail Nirvana.

This blog is part of his ongoing quest for fine spirits, creative cocktails and classic mixology. These online journals will capture his cocktail inventions, adventures with alcohol, trips to bars, meeting with ace mixologists, lessons in the art of drinking and much more.

This apart, ignoring good judgment, the fine folks at also allow him to take up valuable space on their portal with his words & pictures.

Away from Nirvana