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Photo for: Tom Kapanadze at the Louie


Tom Kapanadze at the Louie

Tom Kapanadze will serve his guests something fresh, natural and with a twist. It has to mix well, be something you’d have to put in effort to acquire and is worth your while

Where do you work?

Louie 13-15 West St, London. 

What inspired you to get into bartending?

It happened unintentionally. I remember a friend of mine asking me if I wanted to pick up some shifts as a dishwasher during the summer break from uni and the rest is history.

Tom Kapanadze, Assistant Bar Manager at Louie

How according to you has the role of the Bartender evolved, especially now during Covid times?

More and more I see that bartenders are being treated generally better by their employers, thus allowing them to be more and more creative. Bartenders are starting to be more than excellent cocktail makers, they also have a deep understanding of wine. Some of them even shadow their kitchen staff to learn new ways of coming up with unusual flavour combinations. But most importantly I’d have to point out that bartenders are becoming pillars of their community.  

What are some of the most important skills for a bartender to have?

Positive attitude, genuine desire to work as bartender, willingness to learn and self discipline.

What do you look for when you plan to buy spirits for your bar?

I try to avoid items with additives, colouring, sweeteners. I'm always looking for something that isn't available in your local grocery store, something that you have to put effort in to acquire. And obviously something that mixes well.

What support programs work best for you from suppliers?

Training on spirits provided by them. It's always great to see a supplier that is invested in their accounts that much. 

What cocktails and drinks trends do you see in 2022?

I definitely think that more colourful drinks are making their return. Drinks that have texture, drinks that provide a multi-sensory experience for your guest.

What's the best part of your job?

Creating positive and memorable experiences. They may not remember your name but they will always remember how you made them feel.

What are your favorite TV shows right now? Or your favorite movie?

From the most recent ones I must say that Ted Lasso and Rookie is something I have been enjoying in my down time. As for a movie Vice with Christian Bale was the last one I saw.

If you had to pick one spirit as your personal best, which would it be and why?

Japanese whisky.

How are you marketing your bar to drive some foot traffic during covid-19?

Actually I am very lucky to have a marketing department in charge of that. 

Any tips for new bartenders?

Like in everything, good things take time. Put in the work and be patient.

What’s the most underrated cocktail ingredient or spirit?

Ingredient: Wine. Spirit: Clarin.

What is an experience or a customer story you thought was funny and that you remember?

Once I met a guest in a bar in London and roughly 8 months later I met the same person completely randomly in a bar in Singapore. Turned out we both were traveling through that city at the same time and both had decided to visit the same bar. The odds of that are very slim.

What are the 4-5 challenges you face in your business and how do you overcome them?

Shortages of stock. Staff members that have to self isolate. Correctly communicated information with other departments and cancellations. I try to solve every issue with a different approach. Most times it works, sometimes I ask for advice from more experienced people. 

What's your career goal? Where do you want to be and how are you working towards it?

To develop and execute a successful beverage program that would also be profitable. Challenging myself almost all of the time, setting myself small targets and reaching them. Because eventually small steps will lead to greater goals. 

Tips for brands looking to pitch to bars? What should they cover in their pitch? What do you not need to know? Give us the best elevator pitch brands can do to you.

Please don't just show up on a Monday afternoon or a Thursday evening trying to talk about your product. Instead lets firstly talk via email or any other social media platform, but don't stalk us either. Do your research on whether your brand would actually be a good fit for my venue. Don't give us a 70ml sample and expect us to be able to analyse it and decide if we want to stock, chances are that it won't happen. Don't give out fake promises to bartenders just so they would push for your brand. Instead show me how you are activating your brand, what you are doing for the bartender community, what is the brand's future?

Define a good Bartender according to you.

Open minded, works well in a team, with a good sense of humour, knows his drinks, tastes his drinks and has a good posture.

What's an ideal bar drinks menu? What should it include, what profit metric should it try and achieve?

Depending on the size of the venue vs the size of the bar it should cover cocktails, wine, spirits and soft drinks in a percentage where the bar can cope when the venue is at its maximum capacity. Thus if its volume - mixed drinks should not be overly complex. After net sales, gross profit and operating profit the amount left if any as in these times it can be rather challenging to do so should be anywhere between 7%-21%.

International and Domestic Submission deadline is February 22. If you are looking to grow your brand in 2024, looking for product feedback, or looking to get in front of real trade buyers. It's time to enter your brands in the London Competitions. Here's how to enter, costs and benefits.

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