Alan Mc Gillivray

Where are you from?

 I’m from (and currently live in) north Dublin, Ireland.

Where do you work now, and where did you work previously?

Currently I’m the bar manager at an aperitif focused cocktail bar called Balfes in the heart of Dublin city centre, beside the prestigious Westbury Hotel. Although I’ve worked in many bars over the past 13 years, the most notable The Dead Rabbit and its sister bar Blacktail both in NYC.

What are your favourite bars?

I’m not good at picking my favourite anything really. Whiskey, food or bars I like to have a wide range to choose from. Luckily for our industry there’s plenty to choose from. Although If I had to pick a few I’d have to say Blacktail NYC, Dandelion UK and a secret spot near Capel street in Dublin that I’m not allowed talk about. But I’ll take you there next time your over. 

How do you like your martini?

Preferably with plenty of vermouth. I’m not one to stick to “the letter of the law” when it comes to the “original” recipe of any drink, but if you take the cheese out of Mac and Cheese you just got macaroni. You can’t continue to call it Mac’n’Cheese. Same goes for a martini. If you want to drink a glass of Gin, then just ask for a glass of gin! 

Tell us your rock n roll barman moment? 

I’m probably the clumsiest bartender anyone knows so my Rock’n’Roll moments are usually suffixed by a smashed glass in my ice well. However the most Rock’n’Roll I felt was when I worked the opening shift at a huge Dead Rabbit event in Madrid a couple years back. Jillian the bar manager was busy making drinks for the VIP’s elsewhere in the hotel so I had to take on around 600 people by myself. Considering none of the broken glass made its way into my ice well, I’d say that was pretty impressive.

Ever done it on a bar? 

Haha no, but I’ve seen things. Terrible things. 

What's the worst chat-up line you've ever heard at a bar? 

The usual I guess. Do people actually use pickup lines? I don’t know.

What did you want to be as a kid? 

 A robot. I kept trying to convince my mother to bring me to the gas station so I could drink petrol... hopefully she didn’t let me.

If you were going to make BarChick a drink, what would it include and what would you call it? 

The “Milano Torino” from our current menu in Balfes, none of the ingredients are cutting edge but the drink in my opinion is the best of both worlds, a crushable low abv patio pounder as well as a complex aperitif that can be sipped and enjoyed. It’s got mole, dandelion & burdock bitters, lemon, pimento, Rinomato l’aperitivo, oxidised sherry, sweet vermouth and a splash of soda

What's next for you? 

My time in Balfes has just begun so I’ll be here for the foreseeable future. Although whatever I do, my hopes is to ultimately help bring our industry in Ireland to an international level.