The BarLife Show Ignites The North (Literally)

We’re not normally ones for self-promotion here at BarLifeUK, but on this occasion we have to say, the BarLife Show went off…

Reetmach Beeyatch

Just over a year ago, the organisers of Northern Restaurant and Bar came to us and said they wanted to improve the ‘bar’ bit of their show, and to attract more of the North’s bartenders. We signed on to help with this, and they subsequently gave us a corner of the exhibition to run as the BarLife Show.

We knew immediately what sort of thing the theatre needed to host in order to bring in bartenders (Tiki-Off, Rematch etc) and also the type of brands that the show would need in order to be relevant to cocktail makers.

[stextbox id=”custom” float=”true” align=”right” width=”300″]‘I know I echo the sentiments of many of my colleagues in other bars in Liverpool by saying that of all the bar shows we’ve attended in the past, this was by far the best and most entertaining, so well done!’ Danny Murphy, Aloha Bar, Liverpool[/stextbox]

We also knew that introducing regional qualifying heats to the Northern Bartender of the Year competition would both increase the kudos attached to the title as well as giving us a chance to tour the North and drum up support for the show.

In total we spent just under two weeks in the North for the heats and the BarLife Show, in Chester, Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester, and were blown away by the level of enthusiasm and passion we encountered.

[stextbox id=”custom” float=”true” align=”right” width=”300″]‘The BarLife show was an incredible showcase for what Northern hospitality is all about. An outstanding performance by all Northern bartenders proving that we know how to make great drinks served with style and originality. A big Well Done to all the guys who made me proud to be from the North.’ Jamie Jones, Amber Lounge, Knutsford[/stextbox]

We drank some amazing drinks, both in the competition heats and in the many bars we visited, and were thanked on quite a few occasions for giving some love to the North. It has to be said that the bar industry media is, for the most part, very London-centric – a trend we are proud to be bucking and we will endevour to keep our coverage inclusive of the UKs entire bar community.

The BarLife Show itself went by in a bit of a blur for me – The Northern Bartender of the Year finals were followed quickly by a Tiki-Off that nearly ended the show prematurely, rum sessions by Ian Burrell and the award-winning Stefanie Holt, molecular mixology demonstrations, talks on punch and winning cocktail competitions by The Liquorists – The BarLife area was in constant use and I’ve never seen a trade show theatre so full for so long.

[stextbox id=”custom” float=”true” align=”right” width=”300″]‘I really enjoyed BarLife, the features were excellent and it balanced the serious with the fun perfectly. It felt like bar show used to feel when it was good.’ Stefanie Holt, UK Brand Ambassador, El Dorado Rums[/stextbox]

All of this was flanked by some of the best brands in the business – their support made the whole thing possible and I was very happy to see such a huge proportion of the Northern bartending community visiting them and tasting their prtoducts.

In short, the North really put its money where its mouth is. They asked for a bartender’s show, and when it arrived they got involved and turned up in their hundreds, and we would like to say thanks for your support!

Special thanks must go to:

  • Aloha, Hula and Keko Moku for setting fire to the carpet
  • Everyone who chanced their arm, and ritual humiliation, by entering Reetmatch
  • Jameson Irish Whiskey for sponsoring the comp
  • El Dorado Rum for supporting the Tiki-Off and a great talk by Stefanie Holt that at one stage discussed giant otters
  • Ian Burrell for doing what he does best, and judging the bartender comp
  • The Molecular Mixology boys for a great demo and good-naturedly taking stick about foams as garnishes
  • Ice Cubed for supplying enough ice to make the Titanic blush
  • Jody Monteith and Tom Sneesby of The Liquorists, for making us laugh, some great presentations and a Tommy’s just when we needed it
  • Diageo, Inspirit Brands, BarBlades, Tribe, Cellar Trends & Global Brands for laughing at our hangovers on day one of the show and making the whole thing possible.