Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Alewife is Born

I have always loved bartering and serving. Truly loved being employed to do just that, tend a bar and serve drinks. The people. The atmosphere. The artistry. 

I began serving when at 18, with very few employers in our town, I was offered a position at Swiss Chalet (if your mouth is watering over the thought of Chalet sauce right now...your not alone.) This is where I began to hone my serving skills and stretch my bartending muscles. I learnt the basics; about portion control, serving etiquette, bar tending "norms," among many other aspects that I believe catapulted me into a self proclaimed strong bartender.

Soon after, I headed off to college and while taking on a heavy course load I remained passionate about serving...and working so I didn't endure the dread of lifelong student loans, if I'm being honest. I was employed at a restaurant/club/pub called On the Rocks. This is where I learnt to adapt and diversify my serving and bar tending skills, mainly because, well...I had to. On the Rocks boasted a sit down dining area and patio, along with a large pub style bar on the bottom floor and upstairs was a bonafide nightclub. A strobe light, glowstick kind of nightclub. Ahead of every shift you were uncertain if you were going to be serving flow pour keg beer or mass pouring double vodka Red Bulls. This unpredictability was exhilarating and I revelled in the chance to customize my serving style and skills to the environment I was going to be placed in that night. 

2 years and a diploma later, I made my way over to Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo where I decided to put the Athabasca credits I had been accumulating for 2 years to good use and enrolled in the necessary courses to earn a degree in Psychology. Once again, the serving life called and I answered. I reached out to a local restaurant that I had heard great reviews on and simply inquired about positions. Soon after the manager contacted me for an interview, we enjoyed a glass of wine and discussed how we could make me a part of the Rude Native team. Shortly after I began as a server, moved up to a dual role as both a server and a bartender and was then asked to run the operations as a floor manager once the manager had gone home for the evening or on days off. This is where I learnt the fine ART   of bartending. The owner of the Rude Native was a stickler for education in our employment, we had quarterly wine tasting and classes, learning about the coordination of appropriate wine and food pairings, we also underwent training on everything imaginable in regards to the bar. We learnt how to make a lemon twist, how to produce a top shelf martini and the illusive slow Guiness pour, among other things. 

After completing my time in Waterloo, I moved to Kingston and began a career utilizing my diploma and degree. For once, there was no time for serving, no ability to exercise the skills I had obtained or feed my passion of serving and bartending. Sure, I worked freelance, tending bar at weddings and other events but it never quite satisfied the itch. Then it happened, the ah-ha moment. 

Fast forward to my very own wedding day. I hate to attach any sort of negativity to the best day of my life but I have to, to illustrate the gravity of this passion project, and I will be blunt and honest-the bartenders and servers at my wedding were absolutely down right horrible. We had a decent sized backyard wedding, an open bar and our bartenders were being paid $50/hour PLUS 18% gratuity PLUS whatever tips they received at the bar, not to mention our wedding was extremely laid back (possibly due to the abundance of free alcohol but I digress.) Did I, as the bride, receive so much as a smile while approaching the bar to request a glass of white wine? You'd like to think so, but you would be wrong. A few of my closer friends and family even voiced their like experiences, all of which were as negative, if not more than my own. Weeks after the big day, I smiled at the thought of every aspect of our big day, the flowers were beautiful and abundant, our officiant was incredible and sweet, our wedding party were absolutely amazing, the die for and lets be honest, I got to marry the man of my dreams, my best friend and partner in crime-what could top that!? But I literally cringed when I thought about the bar. My poor guests, how must they have felt interacting with these robots passing themselves off as bartenders. 

And thats when the metaphorical light went on. People shouldn't have to pay good money for lack lustre bar service. And I decided to make a point to ensure they wouldn't be. And thus Alewife was born. Born to provide over the top service at an affordable rate. Born to work with clients, create, customize and provide a great bar experience, making their event that much more special.  

I am so excited to give my clients what they truly deserve...incredible service. In hopes, one day, Alewife itself can be a highlight of the event for the all the right reasons.