Meet The Bartender: Alex Kratena, Artesian Bar
In the first of our Meet The Bartender series, we talk to Alex Kratena, Head Bartender at the sumptuous Artesian Bar and winner of the ‘World’s Best Cocktail Menu’ in the prestigious Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards 2011.
Where did you learn your craft?
I’ve worked at different establishments all around the world and each of those places brought something new and interesting. Most of the people showed me how not to do things and I am grateful for that.
What makes a good barman?
I believe the ultimate foundation of good barman is a good personality! Everything else you can study, learn, or improve.
Which barmen do you admire and why?
I admire the old school guys, the ones who have been there, done it all and worked their way up, but if you ask them for help, they are ready to wash glasses, or clean toilets.
What’s your proudest moment as a barman?
When it’s super busy in the bar, I just look into eyes of my colleagues and we don’t need to talk because the whole shift runs like a well-orchestrated ballet.
What’s your definition of a bartender and a mixologist and where do you fit in?
At the end of the day it is pretty much the same job. People started to use the term ‘mixologist’ to distinguish themselves and make it something special; today, the very same people diss it and the word ‘mixologist’ became almost a pejorative. Bar business is like fashion, trends come and go like seasons and I wonder what those people will call themselves in next ten years. In the meantime I’ll do the same job I’ve been always doing.
Artesian, The Langham hotel, 1c Portland Place, W1B 1JA