Most of us talk to bartenders only when we are drunk at bars on weekends, or when we need some tips on mixing drinks. We usually see bartenders giving both emotional and liquid empathy to their drunken customers, whonarrate their sad story from birth to the present from the other side of the bar. At times, they are also messiahs to people going through a heartbreak, or winding down after a rough day at work. Hence, this time we thought, why not know them better instead? So, we had a conversation with Mr. Bikal Ghale, bartender of Pokhara's newly opened Dunga Restro & Lounge Bar. It is one among some special restaurants in Nepal that combine traditional Nepali flavors with European/other kitchen(s), using fresh and seasonal local ingredients. Dunga Restro & Lounge Bar is situated in the heart of Pokhara, at Central Lakeside, where you can enjoy fine dining and live music with your family and friends every day.
Could you please give a short introduction about yourself? What made you enthusiastic about bartending?
I am a professional bartender who has been working behind the bar for over ten years now. I have worked in every bar genre, including fine dining restaurants and prestigious cocktail bars in London and Hong Kong. I have seen people party in every surrounding and circumstance, and it has been a blast through my journey. It's an opportunity for me to let people back home know what the purpose of working behind the bar is, and share all the knowledge, experience, and drink culture I have seen and experienced throughout my journey. So, the great bartender I’ll be referring to is the individual who not only possesses the skill of a bartender, but also caters to both the tangible (make drinks) and intangible (conversation, advice , persuasion, company), which keeps people coming back,pleased with the service. All thismakes me enthusiastic about bartending.
Have you had any preparation/training or experience in bartending before?
Also, please mention what alcohol safety trainings you have had, assuming you have any.
Yes, I had a products and cocktail training back in London from LAB. I also visited some gin, vodka, and whiskey distilleries in London and Scotland.
What would you do if you suspected that an underage person was asking for a drink? Have you ever faced any such instance before?
If I see any underage entering my bar, I always ask for their ID and make them aware that they are prohibited from drinking alcohol.
Depict a time when you had to settle an issue with experience or logicwith a furious drunk client.
Within my management, and throughout my journey, yes I have, and I have also learned a lesson that there is no point of arguing or making them understand the transparent point that we actually want them to understand. Its better that we agree with them, and try to get their addressand drop them by taxi.
What drink would you match and recommend with your restaurant’s special dish?
I would like to suggest 'Gardeners Choice’, as it goes perfectly with Dunga Restaurant's special dish.
Are you permitted to drink while you are bartending? If yes, will you perhaps do it sometimes?
It is something I don’t do. I have only straw-tasted a cocktail I made for a guest, or took a sip from a cocktail while experimenting.
What is your all-time favorite drink to make?
Whiskey with one cube of ice or crystal clear block ice, because I don’t like diluted drinks as much.
What all characteristics do you think a good bartender upholds?
Within my experience, I would say that a bartender must be a genuinely gregarious and hospitable person, not someone who pretends to have these traits for the sake of our guests. He or she must have an ability to operate with a sense of urgency, while not looking hurried or stressed.
What customer age-groupare you used to serving the most?
I have made thousands upon thousandsof drinks throughout this journey. Made drinks for the wealthy, famous, poor, and every-day- Joes. So, I do not have any particular customer age-group while serving drinks.