Booze hounds

Nick Strangeway


Booze hounds

Where do you live?

I had lived mainly out of a suitcase for the past 7 or 8 years and had always considered London my home. However now I am happily living with my family in Copenhagen.


Ideally any bar where my mentor, Dick Bradsell, is working. I loved it when he worked at the Colony Club a few years ago. I think this was my favourite bar ever. However I will happily travel anywhere to be served up one of his wonderful creations. When I'm in London now, the bars that I feel most at home in are either the Groucho Club because I have been frequenting it now for over 20 years or Marks Bar in Soho as it holds such a special place in my heart. As a respite from the chaos that is now Shoreditch, I love to visit one of the world’s most eccentric and creative bartenders, Paul Tvaroh, at his marvellously tranquil bar, Lounge Bohemia. All his drinks are truly inspiring.

3 favourite international bars and why

When I'm in San Fransisco I love to visit the guys at Trick Dog. Josh and his team are incredibly talented and very welcoming. Their menus are works of art. Some of the best drinks I have tried recently are in my new home city of Copenhagen. Amongst my favourite bars in Copenhagen are 1656 in the Meat Packing district for excellent late night libations but I am more often found around the corner from our apartment propping up the bar at either Balderdash or Strøm. About 10 years ago I spent a lot of time in Cuba working with the team at the Floridita and although it is a little touristy, I am still enchanted by the memories it evokes.

Introduce us to a great bartender

I have already mentioned Dick Bradsell but I truly believe he is by far and away the most influential bartenders since Harry Craddock. Of the newer generation, I am an immense fan of what Alex Kratena and Simone Corporale are doing at Artesian and also of what Jack McGarry and Sean Muldoon have achieved recently at the Dead Rabbit.

Best part of your job?

With my particular job I am incredibly privileged to be able to travel the world and experience a huge diversity of cultures across the Globe. It also gives me a great deal of pleasure not only to meet bartenders from all over the world but also to be in a position to help with their education.

Who would play you in a movie?

Richard Harris in his younger days, although maybe I now look more and more like his version of Dumbledore!

If you weren't a bartender what would you like to be?

To be perfectly honest I am already doing something I never dreamed I would do i.e. running my own distillery with my very talented partners up in Hepple, Northumberland. Should I ever retire from doing this, I would love to own a vineyard and make my own wine.

If you could make a drink for one person dead or alive who would it be

The artist Francis Bacon and it would have to be made with high quality vintage champagne.

Top chefs have their guilty pleasure food, what's your guilty pleasure drink

I must admit I am always a sucker for an ice cold Corona and a shot of Olmeca Altos Tequila while watching the sunset. My idea of the perfect end to a day.

Drink trend that you're excited about

I am never particularly excited by trends or faddish fashions. What does excite me is the constant evolution of our business and the blurring of the boundaries between cocktails and cuisine.

It's the end of the world in 24 hours what would you do?

I’d get my family out of the house and onto a first class flight to the Caribbean. On the plane we enjoy the complimentary food and champagne. Finally 8 hours later we bed down on the beach together with the warm Caribbean Sea lapping at our toes. We watch the sun go down and wake up a few hours later to enjoy a last few hours in paradise.

Favourite place in the world?

My favourite place in the world is being at home with my family, however if money was no object then I would probably move the family home to somewhere in Italy like Umbria or Tuscany and spend our days idly in the sun.

Desert island bottle?

My desert island bottle would have to be a bottle of Hepple Gin to remind me of England and the glorious countryside around our distillery and of course the wild Northumbrian weather. I would however like a bottle or two of tonic and a block of ice to accompany it.