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 stays that way.
And these people are none other than our never-tiring, ever-inspiring staff.
He might have gone from being Senior Bartender at Toit, to Bar Supervisor at The Permit Room, but his love making for cocktails remains unchanged—say hello to Sharath!
How long have you been working at The Permit Room for?
I’ve been here for around two and a half years. I was working for a year and a half at Toit before moving here.
What were you doing before Toit?
I was working in a nightclub as a bartender. That place shut down, so I began looking for other work. In between that I worked in two-three places but I wasn’t too satisfied with the work.
One of my friends told me about Toit, he was also working there.
So I decided to come for the interview and got selected as a Senior Bartender at Toit. I did that for one and a half years, after which the company shifted me to Permit Room as a Bar Supervisor.
How different is it working here, when compared to Toit?
Toit is a busy bar. There are always people around. As a bartender, you have work constantly. You won’t get time to think about anything else, that’s how fast time goes. It’s a very good thing.
As a Supervisor in Permit Room, the experience is different. We serve different kind of cocktails here, which are slightly more complicated and theme based. Of course, I have more responsibilities from when I was a bartender, because I have to take care of the bar and the boys.
Since you were saying that the drinks are very different, tell me a little about the thought that goes into the cocktails here.
It depends. Sometimes we walk into the bar, look around, see the different ingredients that are there, think of all the combinations that will be nice and make something. We will do trials like this, to see what works.
But then, other times we think about what kind of cocktails we can make that can be both good cocktails and also have South Indian flavouring at the same time. We use curry leaves, rasam, coconut and other typical South Indian ingredient that work with cocktails. So sometimes we think that way before we start making the cocktails.
What is a day in the life of a TPR bar supervisor like?
First thing we do is keep everything ready. That’s the first thing we do when we come in. Check that all supplies are there, and then give the instructions to the boys.
Since we have a fixed menu, we keep all the ingredients according to the menu so that we can make and serve the cocktails. But if someone comes in and asks for special cocktails, then we try to improvise by mixing two or three ingredients here and there.
What is your favourite drink at TPR?
Paati’s Magic Rasam. Favourite to make, and drink!
How has the transition from Toit to The Permit Room been?
So, Toit is very different. It was busy from the time I joined.
This place was new when I joined, and any new bar always takes time to set up. At least two to three months before everything is in place and consistency is established.
And this place serves totally different cocktails, with very specific ingredients, so we struggled the first two months to get that consistency. But now everyone who comes here, come for the various concept cocktails. The food of course, but also the cocktails.
Is being a Bar Supervisor a hectic job?
Nothing like that. As a bartender, all I had to do was come to the bar, organise everything and just work. There were other people managing the bar, so that time there was no tension about anything else. We just needed to attend to the guests, take their orders, and make the drinks.
But as a Supervisor, you are the one who is answerable if something goes wrong. So that we have to take care—make sure the boys are doing everything the right way, and all the ingredients are proper.
Are you from Bangalore?
I am from Udupi, in Karnataka.
And you’ve always been a part of the hospitality industry?
Yes! Almost eighteen years now.
Actually, my uncle is a chef, and he made me come to Bangalore and work in the kitchen at one of the places he was working in.
Then I joined another place for kitchen work itself, and the boss at that place suggested I work as a steward. I agreed.
So then I started working as a steward, and I did that for five to six years. Then I thought, let me go work at the bar. So I just jumped into that, and have been doing it for almost ten years now. I really enjoy it.
Making good cocktails is something that I’m really passionate about.
When you’re not working, what do you do on your off-day?
I spend time with my family. I have two children, a four year old son and a nine-month old baby girl. So I spend most of my time at home only, I won’t go out anywhere.
I used to play cricket earlier, but nowadays I don’t get any time to play at all.
Any favourite player?
Sourav Ganguly! And from the current lineup, Dhoni!
What has been the best part, and the biggest challenge of working at a place like The Permit Room?
The tough part is that because it is such a specifically South Indian places, sometimes it takes time to convince people to experience what we have to offer.
The best thing is that this place is truly South Indian. We are very proud of being the first place doing South Indian food with a bar like this. We love saying this to all our customers as well, and it makes us very happy.