Meet Adam Cork, Kittyhawk. He’s got Sydney bars The Hazy Rose and Jangling Jack’s on his resume, and is no stranger to the world of top cocktails. But Kittyhawk, well, that’s a bar that definitely lands in the high-volume category. To find out what a shift there is like, we asked him some questions below.
Describe to us what a shift at Kittyhawk is like when it’s busy and in full flight?
Kittyhawk in full flight is an amazing thing to see. We have 12 metres of bar, four stations and at most eight people behind the stick.
The venue holds 175 at capacity so you could imagine the room really buzzing when there are eight bartenders all pumping out cocktails at once.
As a manager on shift, what are the competing priorities you need to be mindful of to ensure a smooth night?
For myself it is trying to be aware of everything that is going on in venue. Making sure that as a team we deliver a world class experience for every single patron. How the lighting, music, air con, seating, etc are set to ensure the comfort of the patron’s and their overall experience. Also how the team are working and communicating together across all areas in such a large business – making sure the bar, the floor team, the kitchen team, back of house team etc are all interacting effectively. And also, making sure that the guests are actually enjoying themselves at the same time! It’s easy for managers sometimes to get caught up with the mechanics of such a big operation and lose sight of that detail.
What do you guys look for when hiring bartenders? How’s that different (if at all) to what you look for in your floor staff?
Basically we look for someone who is going to bring some personality to the team but also brings with them the same core values that we have identified as the basis of what we do day in, day out. On top of this they must fit into the team easily and gel with the rest of the guys. We see a lot of cross over across the different areas in this business with people expected to be able to work in any area so it’s important that they do not bring an ego with them that makes them believe they are above grabbing a tray and working the floor for a while.
What is it about the bar industry that you love?
When greeting people as they walk into to Kittyhawk and seeing their reaction, then having them sat across the bar, having a chat, recommending drinks and just overall banter that really makes the experience one to remember.
Give us some advice for younger bartenders looking to make a career in the industry?
Be yourself. Learn off of everyone you can and have fun. Read Australian Bartender magazine.