Behind the Brewpub ScenesFrom fixing cycles to fixing cocktails—Shivaraju has done it all!
Running a brewpub isn’t easy- it’s a lot of work, a lot of sweat and the occasional tears.
There are a lot of good, earnest people working behind the scenes, who put in a great deal of effort, round-the-clock, to ensure that everything you love about Toit stays that way.
And these people are none other than our never-tiring, ever-inspiring staff.
Our very own Toit Army- a battalion dedicated to the cause of good beer!
How long have you been working at Toit?
For four and a half years.
What were you doing before this?
Before, I was working in a restaurant. It’s a Kerala style restaurant, in Bangalore.
You’re from Bangalore?
Ya! Bangalore only.
Have you always been in the hospitality industry?
When I started to work, I used to work at a cycle shop. I worked there for one and a half years. Then I worked at an agarbatti (incense sticks) factory. After that, I came to work in that Kerala style restaurant. I was there for five years, and then I came to Toit.
How did you get into the hotel industry?
In 2006, I joined the previous restaurant I was working at as a cleaning boy. I worked for five years, and there I learned a little about how to work as a steward and also reception and delivery boy. I learnt how to do all the work. After that, I came to Toit.
When I came here in 2011, I was working as a housekeeping boy. There was a contract for housekeeping, and I was working on that contract basis. Then Toit hired all the housekeeping boys directly. I worked for 6 months, and after that they made me Assistant Steward.
After two years of that, I went to work at the bar. I learned everything about bartending and then the management gave me a promotion and made me a bartender.
So, who taught you how to do everything at the bar?
My seniors taught me. So many people are there.
Did you always have an interest in bartending? Or is it something you developed at Toit?
I had an interest from before only.
Can you describe a typical work day for me?
Morning, I wake up at 8:30 am. I drop my aunty, who works for a bank. My mother and father passed away when I was a child, so I stay with my aunt.
I have one sister. She is married and lives with her husband. She’s also in Bangalore.
So, after dropping my aunty, I go home and watch some TV and read the newspaper. After that, I get ready and come to work by 11:30 am. I come here and take briefing first. After that, I come to the bar and set it up.
First I wipe the counter, then put the displays and prepare the garnish. After that, I pick up the stock, arrange it, and keep the bar ready for the guests. When the guests start coming, I start preparing the orders.
Then, at 3 pm, I go home for my break. I have lunch, watch a movie, play with my aunty’s children. Then I sleep for an hour. After that, at 6 pm I wake up, freshen up, come to Toit by 6:30, and then work here till closing, which is at 11:30 pm.
Your job is quite hectic right?
Yes. Always. And I serve both the cocktails and beer.
In the cocktails, what is your favourite cocktail to make?
You also get a day off during the week right? What do you do on your off day?
My off day is Thursday. Normally, I wake up at 8:30, because I have to drop my aunty. Then I go back, think about where I want to go, and then go to my sister’s house.
I spend half my day there.
After that, I plan to go for a movie with my friends. I like Vijay, I’m a big fan of him. Whenever his movie comes out, I am very happy. I always watch the first day-first show.
What is your favourite Vijay movie?
Before I liked Rajnikanth. Then I watched a few of Vijay’s movies, and I liked him also.
For the last 15 years, I have been his fan. I have watched every movie of his. I watch Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam movies also. I like watching movies a lot.
When I don’t watch movies, I go to malls with my friends. After that, at 6:30, when my aunty comes back home, I pick up meat and cook whatever she likes. I like making biryani a lot.
Every Thursday I make biryani. I used to work in that restaurant, no? That is where I learnt how to make lots of dishes. I enjoy cooking.
What is the most popular cocktail at Toit?
All the classic cocktails—Mojito, Cosmopolitan. These are the fast moving cocktails.
Is the job hectic?
Yes. But I am happy to work. I enjoy it.
What do you like and dislike most about your job?
I like this place—good management, good staff and it’s a nice place to work. Other places the management is not so good. Here, the management gives you whatever you need. So, it’s good.
What I do not like, is that on Friday and Saturday it closes at 1 am. That is the only problem with the job.
You get to interact with customers a lot. Any funny incidents in all the time you’ve spent at the bar?
It’s there. There are so many.
Tell me any one!
There’s one shooter called Flaming Ferrari. It’s a fire based cocktail. But so many people don’t know how to drink it. They end up burning themselves, and I find that very funny. *chuckles sheepishly*
Do you drink? What is your favourite cocktail?
I don’t drink, but I’ve tasted them all. Favourite is Mojito.
In the beers, the Weiss is ok. I don’t like beers actually.
Out of all the movies, which kind do you enjoy watching the most?
In Tamil, Vijay is my favourite. But my mother tongue is Kannada, so I enjoy watching Kannada movies. Upendra is my favourite Kannada movie star. I also like listening to songs from these movies.
How has the experience of working in Toit for the last 4 and a half years been?
Good experience. When I first came to Toit, for the housekeeping work, I didn’t know even little bit about what a pub is, or bartending work, or anything.
I came here, I saw lots of guests coming here, and I used to wonder how to keep working in this place because nice people work here.
Then they taught me everything, how to do things, different ways of doing things.
Did you always want to be a bartender?
Yes. But next, I want to work hard and be promoted to Supervisor. For that, I need to come up with good ideas of my own.