Introducing: Tara Steele

ADDRESS: 680 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley 4006
PHONE: 36660880

Q+A: What’s your advice for an aspiring bartender?
“Be a sponge! The people you work with are the most valuable sources of information you have.” Tara Steele, Laruche Bar & Supperclub


Tara Steele holds court at Brisbane favourite Laruche Bar & Supper Club and will do her best to talk you into a Tequila – and one for her too! If she wasn’t serving up drinks for a living Tara counts herself as a potential environmental crusader (she previously worked as a horticulturalist) and she’d like to have a sit down with Sir David Attenborough. She is also right into antiquing, so much so she considers it a sport.


How long have you been bartending?

“Almost four years.”

Before you were bartending what were you doing with yourself?

“I was a horticulturalist (sun-tanning rather than moon-tanning).”

What is your proudest moment behind the bar?
Probably winning my first cocktail competition – a small (but no longer running) comp called Press League.”

And most embarrassing?
Asking another bartender what ‘CC’ was (circa 2007)”

How do you prepare yourself for success in a cocktail competition?
“I try to be as relaxed as possible. I really enjoy conveying my passion for something I’ve created and so I like to sit quietly and reflect on what I’ve made and why I did it. Oh, and knowing your product!”

Where have you worked previously?

“I started my career at Empire Hotel and have since worked for One Degree, Iceworks, Limes Hotel and The Hifi.”

What’s your advice for an aspiring bartender?
“Be a sponge! The people you work with are the most valuable sources of information you have.”


What’s been your favourite bar to work in?

“Definitely Laruche. The back bar is extensive, the staff energetic and professional and the Moubarak family (venue owners) are great. I think support and appreciation for your staff can go a long way to retaining them.”

What’s your favourite bar gadget?

“It has to be the weird and wonderful vessels we like to stir down drinks in (beakers, jugs, jars, teapots, tins, anything!). For a high volume venue it’s really nice to still make a customer’s experience as individual as possible.”

What’s your favourite city to visit?

“Guadalajara, Mexico. Because it’s so close to Tequila (and very beautiful)!”

What’s your favourite movie?

The Neverending Story. My brother and I owned it as kids and I’m pretty sure we watched it until the tape burned out.”

What’s your favourite song?

Layla – Eric Clapton.”

What’s your favourite sport?

“Does antiquing count as a sport?”


What’s your favourite cocktail?

  • 60ml Reposado Tequila
  • 5ml Agave syrup
  • 1 dash Angostura Aromatic Bitters

*Add all ingredients to an antique mixing glass and stir over hand cut ice with a 1920s bar spoon. Serve in an original Sévres porcelain coupe modelled on Marie-Antionette’s breast.

Describe your fantasy bar.

“A big open wood fire, cold beers, steaks and straight up drinks.”

Can you tell us some of your favourite bars to visit?

“I drink at The Bowery, Laruche & Lychee Lounge, and I eat at Vinyl & Jam Jar in West End.”

What is your favourite product to work with at the moment and why?

“All 100% agave Tequila. Since visiting Mexico, I’ve had a really great appreciation of the spirit and those that do it well. It’s a ‘one for you, one for me’ kind of situation!”

What do you drink to…

Unwind after a long shift?
The coldest beer possible.”

Impress a man?
The most expensive Tequila in the bar (he’s paying of course!).”

If you could have a drink with one person (alive or dead) who would it be and why?

“Sir David Attenborough. I’d make him describe everything in the room.”

Other Stuff:

What was the last book you bought?

Letters From Father Christmas – J.R.R. Tolkein.”

What cocktail trends are popular at the moment?

“Barrel aged cocktails are definitely gaining a following. We also had a colder than usual winter and so Blue Blazers have been a big hit. Any bartender knows if you make one, you’re going to have to make 10 more for the onlookers!”

If you could have a superhuman power what would it be – why?

“Scissorhands to fix terrible haircuts…and hedges.”

If you were to be something other than a bartender, what would it be and why?

“An environmental crusader. I love everything about nature and could see myself defending its honour!”

Who’s your hero?
“My brother, James. You’re thinking ‘lame’, but you’ve not met him yet.”

What products do you think will be hot over the coming year?
“Smokey Scotches are gaining a following and spiced rum will hopefully starting to hit our shores with more variety.”

Last drink ever – what would it be?
Aged Peruvian Pisco. On ice.

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