Just before Christmas, the annual Bartender’s Choice Awards took place, with awards handed out in several categories. Stockholm institution Tjoget ran away with both the best bar award and the people’s choice awards, to the surprise of no-one. And among a string of fantastic barmen and women nominated as the best bartender, Alex Skärlén, of Bar Hommage on Södermalm, got to take the prize home.
To celebrate the ever-improving bar scene in Stockholm, we rounded up some of the best bartenders we know and asked them a few well-worded questions. To get to know them, their workplaces and their preferences a bit better, read on.
Ross Holm, Häktet Vänster, Stockholm
Tell me about your bar.
It’s one of Sweden’s only speakeasys, which means we have a closed door with a door bell. A ‘those who know, know’ kind of thing. It’s a very small bar where just two people work. The way it’s set up is that we have our own drinks menu with various themes, different from the larger bar at Häktet, and we change it every two months or so. We only have seated guests so they escape the stress of standing at the bar waiting to order. On late nights we open up for more guests at the bar to have a bit more of a party atmosphere.
What do you usually order when visiting another bar?
I keep it simple, beers and shots. When I drink cocktails I have at least one Daiquiri, perhaps some Negronis and Pendennis too. And it’s always fun to look at other bars’ drinks menus, especially in Stockholm where the standard and quality is so high.
Any upcoming bar trends on the horizon?
In Sweden I sense, both at restaurants and bars, that we are moving away from the pretentious style and have more of a rock’n’roll style. That you can do your thing and sit down to talk with the guests at their table, the staff won’t always have a shirt on, they are not always uniformly dressed. That in turn makes the guests more relaxed too.
Häktet, Hornsgatan 82