100 Wardour St, London
Tucked away on Soho’s famous Wardour St. is an unassuming multi-purpose venue, and a history filled with the likes of David Bowie, The Rolling Stones and The Sex Pistols.
100 Wardour St, the two-level restaurant, bar and musical venue is a destination place – one Assistant Bar Manager Edgars Zavoronkovs describes as a place for everyone. “Not everyone can like everything, but 100 Wardour St offers something for everyone.” The Latvian-born barman began his career at 15, serving alcohol in an unofficial police bar. How’s that for irony… He’s not sure if the bartender was taking the piss, but martinis would be created with Sprite or anything sweet to appeal to the trend in Russian alcohol. He moved into the club industry before turning into a prison counsellor and taking on other jobs that excited him. But he returned to bartending when he realised he could do marketing, psychology, music and creativity in one role. Bartending, as he describes, is an all-rounder.
As part of the opening team for the one-and-a-bit-year-old 100 Wardour St, he’s gotten to know his clientele and staff very well, adapting the venue to their needs. Downstairs in the main restaurant and stage is the dark-spirits bar, filled with over 300 rums, while upstairs focuses on refreshing light spirits. The menu is designed by Edgars, with contributions from the team in specific sections. By now he’s convinced that every bar is just recreating the classics. “Everything’s been invented well already. Now it’s about tweaking those recipes and bringing new life.” Which is why he’s recreated the Negroni to suit Brockmans delicacy. With a slight shift in ratios and garnished with pink grapefruit, you’ve got a completely new cocktail.
With over one thousand customers at any given time, we pressed him for some gossip. But all he’d let slip is that difficult customers “make his day.” “They make you think outside the box.” And his bar staff would agree. To him, they are all pieces of a puzzle. “You need to have each puzzle piece fit. You can always teach a person how to make a drink, but you can’t give a person the right personality.” And with that, we sit back and enjoy our refreshing Negroni.
We’re a lounge, bar, restaurant and club.
Best thing you’ve ever overheard at your bar?
That’s hard, for me it’s the good feedback that I love. But one of the best things I’ve seen recently is a girl’s boobs on the bar. She was looking for her wallet and in the process took out her fake boobs and forgot all about them. So for 15 minutes it looked like two chicken breasts resting on the bar.
Why do you think gin is so popular?
It’s an all rounder and changes the flavour of the cocktail. Look, gin is like your best friend. He’s dope. He’s a cool guy, the one you always want to hang around with.
What is it about Brockmans that appeals to you?
Well this is a bit funny. I wasn’t looking to expand our gin collection at the time but after tasting it, I ordered 21 cases straight away. I like to make people drinks they don’t think they’d normally enjoy, and being able to change their mind. Brockmans is like a pine forest with berries all over the floor. It works in just about anything but a martini for me because it’s so delicate. It’d be like taking a cute girl and dressing her up in a leather dress. A martini needs to be harsh and Brockmans is too smooth for that.
If you could have one last drink before you died, what would you choose?
Ahhh we aren’t getting any younger. A Negroni. But in a pint glass. I want it big.
by Edgars Zavoronkovs
- 25ml Brockmans
- 30ml Lillet Rose
- 20 Campari
- 2 dashes of peychaud bitters
Stir over ice. Garnish with grapefruit slice and edible flowers.