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Photo for: Know Your Bartenders: Francesco Colucci, Head Bartender at Ginger Lily Pan Pacific London

Interviews

Know Your Bartenders: Francesco Colucci, Head Bartender at Ginger Lily Pan Pacific London

“I'm Passionate About What I Do.” Says Francesco.

Francesco is a driven, modest, and passionate professional with a fantastic approach to working with people and personal growth. He loves taking up challenges at work and has exceptional bartending skills. Francesco provides his guests with fantastic experiences and an amazing atmosphere since he loves taking care of the people around him. In the interview below, learn more about him and why he wanted to become a bartender. 

Your current place of work / Last place of work 

Pan Pacific Hotel

Pan Pacific Hotel

Tell us about yourself. 

People say I'm humble and smile like a kid in a Luna park. I grew up between vineyards and hometown bars in the South of Italy, sipping well-known Amaros. Since a young age, I've been working in my grandfather's vineyards, and I always find it fascinating. After my diploma, I kept working with my grandfather until I moved to London to give my life a meaningful experience, without knowing where to go and what to do, and here I am, already seven years in this beautiful city that gave me everything and made me rich, no talking about money but life. Recently got my 3rd level WSET wine, and hopefully, keeping going in my grandfather's steps. I'm always looking for new challenges that make me hungry for new skills and knowledge. That's what I am, and I hope I'll never change.

Francesco Colucci

Image: Francesco Colucci

Why did you want to become a Bartender?

I started my experience drinking with my friends at a young age, as probably everyone did, trying to mix and match flavours that could give us a nice taste. Moving to London made a huge difference; starting as a barback, I met my first Bar manager who told me those words "help us grow, and we'll help you grow", well I felt so lucky to have him as a mentor even if he left after few months, but that's London. He transmitted the passion and dedication I have used every day since day one. Of course, he was not the only mentor I had, London is full of people ready to teach you and give you the power to reach your goals, and I'm lucky I met mine. I also love taking care of people, not only guests, giving them the best drink they could imagine; as David Wondrich says, "A proper drink at the right time—one mixed with care and skill and served in a true spirit of hospitality—is better than any other made thing at giving us the illusion, at least, that we're getting what we want from life."(Imbibe).

Your favorite places to enjoy great cocktails in London other than your bar?

My Favourite Bar was undoubtedly Dandelyan with Alex Lawrence as Head. Unfortunately, it closed and changed nowadays in Lyaness. I definitely miss Kwant Bar from the legend, Eric Lorincz. Nowadays, I definitely like The Connaught Bar and Dukes Bar if I'm in a Martini mood, but for casual nights I love Tayer_Elementary, and I also prefer Happiness Forgets, Three Sheets, and Homeboy.

If you had to pick one spirit brand you love, which one would it be?

I'll definitely go for Fernet Branca, I grow up with it, and I'm still drinking it after every huge Italian meal.

What's the best part of your job?

Definitely interact with many different kinds of guests, understand their needs, give them a time break from a busy day or let them enjoy a celebration, and be a good listener for any problems they would love to discuss; there are infinite reasons.

What do you love hearing as a bartender?

I love being congratulated, and I think gratitude or gratification is the best feeling a human could ever feel because it makes you proud and is free.

How can a customer get your attention in a crowded bar?

He/She just needs to look at me. One of the top rules I teach the team is to be "head up" and always be aware of a guest's need.

Francesco Colucci

Image: Francesco Colucci

What is your go-to "surprise me" order?

Honestly, I try to read my guest before he orders or asks me anything, and I always ask a few questions about acidity/sweetness or fruity/dryness to give him the best drink he could get. But if my guest doesn't want questions, I'll give him a Corpse Reviver n.2.

Please name 3 bartenders of London that you admire and why

- Eric Lorincz - A legend in the industry from the best American Bar team ever to Kwant, his own bar, lots of sacrifice and talent. Highlander.

- Simone Caporale - An Italian Legend who shows his passion for his job, and I love how he interacts with people. 

- Monica Berg - She is incredibly talented; she opened her own bar with another master called Alex Kratena; she is so focused on sustainability and the futuristic way how to see this job. 

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Please name 3 bars in London that you admire and why?

- Connaught Bar because they show to be on top of the industry standards, always giving their guest an unforgettable experience.

- Tayer_Elementary because Monica and Alex created a new era of bartending and mixology, this is the bar where bartenders love to go.

- Dandelyan because you could find a friend in every bartender working there, really friendly staff, and incredible mixology improved by Alex Lawrence.

Give Londoners some hidden gems of London they should go and try out.

Silverleaf,  a new bar in Liverpool street, all designed by Tom Dixon, where you can find an incredible cocktail menu and an absolutely stunning collection of whiskies. Remember to ask to see "Alba", the most beautiful tasting room humans as ever created.

Header Image: Francesco Colucci

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