Cherish Royal Wilkie on what it’s like working with the 2016 Bar Team of the Year at Ramblin’ Rascal

Sydney’s Ramblin’ Rascal Tavern is a favourite among bartenders, and that’s because of the people who work there and the atmosphere they create. One of those people is Cherish, and here she shares what it’s like to be a Ramblin’ Rascal.

As told to Sam Bygrave
Photograph by Christopher Pearce

What’s Ramblin’ Rascal like? It’s super stupid, and it’s really fun.

I barback mostly, then I bartend like two to three nights a week, but I prefer to barback mostly — I like doing all the extra things. I don’t like reading, so I don’t learn a lot of the cocktail stuff — with the list, I’m good at that, I always know those but with classics, I’m like, ‘I could be cleaning something’!

Working at Rascals, it’s lots of laughing. I think that some of the jokes that we tell shouldn’t be spoken about elsewhere. It’s good for me because I’ve never worked in a bar where it’s all been men [working]. So I haven’t had the issues I’ve had in other places. I worked at a strip club for two years, on the bar, and there were just creepy dudes and idiots the whole time. Then I worked at Frankie’s, the crowd was always a bit annoying, but I feel like I can be in my undies here and guys wouldn’t be weird with me, because I’ve got so many men around me and everyone thinks their my big brothers. It’s really love like that.


What was working at the strip club like? It was good because I had Kenny there, he was my manager. I would do whatever I wanted on the bar, but I wasn’t really being taught anything there. I was a bartender and I didn’t know what amaretto was. We had one whisky on the bar. I had no idea. I had been there for two years, and I kind of liked this bartending thing, but I wanted to know stuff as well. So I went to Frankie’s — we had trainings, we were doing things, I was like, “oh, this is fucking a lot different.” It was such a different world. I’d been doing this for two years and I realised that I had just been doing it terribly, not properly at all.

I asked Dardan [for a job at Ramblin’ Rascal]. We’d only been out as friends together— he was like, “hmm… yeah ok.” When I got there, no-one knew I was coming. I was like, I’m here to work, I want to work really hard. And then two months later, they were like, she’s alright.

Cosmo [Soto] is super fricken cool and smart, and he shows me the real stuff; Charlie [Lehmann] just tells me to be an adult. But I just wouldn’t be here if I didn’t look up to them — they’re fab.

What should someone expect at Rascals? If they’re going to be served by me, they should be ready to be told to fuck off a few times — in a nice way. Then we’ll probably have a shot of cognac. I really do like making cocktails, and every time we have a new cocktail list I have my favourites.

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