Introducing: Kate Bartlett, The VM at Brisbane’s Cobbler Bar

The VM at Brisbane’s Cobbler Bar talks about working smart and spreadsheets

Where do you work?
Cobbler Bar, 7 Browning Street, Brisbane

Tell us a bit about how you got started in the hospitality industry?
I started in hospitality by working in pubs, where I learned to love to talk to people. Shout out to Grand Central Hotel and best old boy George for being the most charming example of a gentleman and always asking how my morning went. I found a passion for bartending by watching staff at The Bowery and Death & Taxes.

What’s your role at the moment?
Venue manager

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It’s been a tough 18 months for the hospitality industry, how has this impacted you?
The last 18 months has put everyone into a world nobody expected or could prepare for, but within this wildness, I’ve found a better appreciation and respect for staff from the general public. We have a greater control over how many people we have in our bar and how we serve them and it’s changed the bar industry for the better.

What are some of the things you love about the bar industry?
I love the community bartending has created in my life – my friends and colleagues are like a chosen family that stretch all around Brisbane. I can’t wait to be able to keep meeting new people from other cities and even countries and to be able to relate to each other through hospitality.

“The last 18 months has put everyone into a world nobody expected or could prepare for, but within this wildness, I’ve found a better appreciation and respect for staff from the general public. We have a greater control over how many people we have in our bar and how we serve them and it’s changed the bar industry for the better.”

Some of the things you hate?
Although it’s happening less and less, the competition of hard work and long hours can be a bit silly. Boasting how many hours you worked in a week to prove that you’re a hard worker is pretty counter intuitive – work smarter not harder.

Cobbler, Brisbane

What advice do you have to rookie bartenders starting out in their careers? Were there any big mistakes you made you’d like to see others avoid?
For bartenders getting started in their career I’d recommend learning from every possible person you have access to – go to bars and ask the bartenders about everything they’re doing. One thing that I regret not doing is taking care of your physical health and going to physiotherapy before you find out that you have to.

When you walk into a bar, what are you looking for? What makes a great bar experience?
The atmosphere of a bar is so important for me – The lighting, music, and movement of the bar. If the staff have nothing to do, they should start a conversation with a customer and keep up the idea of a high energy vibe and attitude.

Mentors? People who have inspired you?
People who inspire me are the ones who encourage inclusivity rather than cliques. Nick Miles and Samuel Russ are two people who will go out of their way to make sure they say hello to every person in the room and make sure they feel included.

What are you drinking right now?
Americano!

What are your hopes for 2022?
My hopes for 2022 are continue on this road of respect and appreciation for hospo workers, as well as to have a thriving veggie garden.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
In 5 years time I see myself working more with spreadsheets and continuing management in one form or another – two things I was surprised to find out how much I enjoyed.

You can have a drink with anyone, alive or dead. Who would it be and what are you drinking?
A bunch of strong women come to mind but a few of them really set up who I am and aim to be. Peggy Olson from Mad Men was revolutionary for me as a young woman and any person in the world with that badass feminine energy, are people I will always love having a drink with. We’ll be drinking Bloody Marys and Martinis.

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