Bronagh Bennett

Meet the rock'n'roll lady keeping Chelsea's hottest pub in check

Let’s start at the beginning, who are ya and what do you do in the drinks biz? 

I’m Bronagh Bennett and I am the GM at the Cadogan Arms pub in Chelsea.

Tell us about your booze biz journey – where/when did you first get into the world of drinks? 

I’ve been working in hospitality for over 20 years, starting as a part-time glass collector in a city centre hotel in Belfast while I was studying. I always had an interest in drinks but things really kicked off after I graduated and got into hospitality full time. The first serious cocktail bars in Belfast opened in the early 2000s. I met some similar people on the scene and started to get involved in cocktail competitions and helped with writing lists before deciding to focus on managing bars. I operated some of the most successful bars in Belfast and curated Belfast Cocktail week before making the move to London a few years back, in search of the next challenge! 

What’s the best thing about your job?

For me the most rewarding part of the job is hiring someone at ground level, mentoring them and seeing them grow and progress through the ranks. I’ve hired young people as glass collectors that are now working at GM level, moving around the industry and absolutely bossing it, it’s great to see. 

Tell us something about the drinks world we might not know.

Everyone secretly loves a frozen strawberry daiquiri, they just refuse to admit it. We need to be cooler with being uncool.

What is your favourite cocktail and who makes it the best?

I’m very mood dependent on what cocktails I drink but I always find myself craving a slightly dry Manhattan more than anything else. I never worry too much about who makes it, as long as they have good chat while they’re doing it!

What’s your party trick/superhero power? 

Appearing to be sober when I’m completely hammered! This power is waning as I get older, unfortunately…

You can teleport to any bar in the world, what bar are you hitting up, what are you ordering and who do you hope is there when you arrive?

I’ve always wanted to go to Tokyo for many different reasons but Bar High Five is top of my list of bars I’ve never been to. I’ll let them decide what I’m drinking and I very much hope I would have my oldest and dearest friend Laura with me.

Shout out to Pouring Ribbons for their Chartreuse menu and excellent chat though, it would be hard not to go straight there!

Can you remember the first drink you ever legally ordered in a bar? Would you still order it now?

I’ll never forget this because of the poor bartender who served me! I ordered 3 shots of Red Aftershock letting him know it was my birthday as we were regulars and I always chat with him. As he was pouring he asked what age I was and my best friend blurted out ‘18” to which he rolled his eyes and said ‘you’ve been bloody well drinking here for 2 years’ started laughing and gave us the drinks on the house.

I feel a bit guilty about it now looking back but at least he took it in good humour!

You’re stranded on a deserted island but there’s a lifetime supply of one bottle there to keep you company – what is it?

Ah, my life partner - Jack Daniels. Rock’n’roll whiskey for a rock’n’roll lady!

What is your hangover cure?

These days nothing cures me except sleep, I spend more time trying to avoid hangovers altogether, to be honest.