The Future of Hospitality with Ago Perrone and Giorgio Bargiani
World-renowned bartending duo Ago Perrone and Giorgio Bargiani of The Connaught have assembled a team of some of the biggest names in bartending today for our newest series, exploring the future of hospitality with the people who know it best – bartenders.
Listed in the World’s 50 Best Bars for the past ten years running and named as World’s Best Bar 2020, The Connaught is known for its impeccable service, charming bartenders, and free-flowing Martinis. At the helm, Ago and Giorgio have led their team to stratospheric success, cementing themselves as two of the most influential bartenders in the world.
Suited, booted and dressed to impress, our hosts have connected, virtually, with Carina Soto Velasquez (Quixotic Projects, Paris), Benjamin Padrón Novoa (Licorería Limantour, Mexico City) and Vijay Mudaliar (Native, Singapore). For our latest episode, we’re proud to introduce Vasilis Kyritsis, co-founder of Athens’ best-known cocktail bar - The Clumsies.
Launched on a tight budget at the height of the Greek recession, The Clumsies is a run-down-townhouse turned multi-storied-palace where each corridor, room and staircase present a new surprise. Vasilis and partner-in-crime Nikos Bakoulis worked together for two years before opening their own venue, and as the saying goes - good things come to those who wait. The Clumsies is no exception. Coming in at #3 on the World’s 50 Best Bars 2020, The Clumsies is something of a stalwart when it comes to awards, having featured on the list for the past six years running and in the top ten since 2015.
For Vasilis, his bartending career began as a way to help him through education. “I started bartending when I was studying nursing when the Mojito was the star, Frozen Margarita was the hero, and the only power we had in our hand was our relationship with the people. I really enjoyed these moments because they helped me a lot when I started to work, because I had this skill, to talk with people and make them happy.”
Greek hospitality is at the heart of what The Clumsies do and is undoubtedly paramount to their success; as Vasilis explains, “Hospitality is the main thing for us. Even the cocktails are the second step; the first step is the hospitality. The first thing we need to succeed is to express Greek hospitality to our regulars.” That means making people happy is always at the top of the list. “People are coming to the bar to have fun, to flirt, to enjoy their friends. If you can make people happy with your character, your attitude and of course with your drinks, that’s my goal for the next year. I will try to be more polite, more approachable; I will try to make them happy, with one coffee, one wine, one cocktail but first of all, with my attitude.”
An avid traveler, Vasilis names La Factoria and Alquímico as two of his favourite bars. “I had such a good time when I was in Puerto Rico at La Factoria; I really love it because it contains different rooms, different vibes in each room. I really love Alquímico in Cartagena; it was amazing, these guys have a great team, great inspiration, and for sure, they have the Latin vibe that I really love, because I totally believe that Latin people have the same attitude as us, they have the same culture.”
For Vasilis, the simple things in life are his favourite “I love having a Gin. One well-prepared Gin and Tonic makes me happy. Now that I'm getting a little bit older, I really love the low ABV cocktails. I really go for a well-made Spritz or a Vermouth and Tonic. I love a Reverse Manhattan with more Vermouth and less Bourbon. I am always starting with a nice Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary is my favourite cocktail.” For more of Vasilis’ words of wisdom, including where he looks for creativity, what he does when he’s not working, and why he tries not to talk too much about work, check out his full video interview. Stay tuned for more in this series, created by hospitality for hospitality, as we look to navigate the future of the bar industry alongside those who know it best - bartenders.