Introducing the ēe series
Here at The Blend, we’re all about presenting best-in-class and the ēe series is no exception. The term ‘needs no introduction’ is bandied around, but there are few people to whom it applies more deservedly than Alex Kratena and Monica Berg, owners and operators of the much-celebrated Tayēr + Elementary in London, UK.
Those of you who have long wanted to pick the brains of London’s most highly acclaimed bartending duo need look no further, as over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing Alex and Monica’s in-depth guide on how to build a successful brand. Disclaimer – it takes a lot of hard work, and more than a little ‘Hustle Magic’.
A seasoned hospitality professional, Alex worked alongside Simone Caporale at The Langham’s Artesian to create one of the world’s most awarded bars. Named World’s Best Bar by Drinks International a whopping four times, The Artesian is the stuff of legends and so is Alex, who scooped the TOTC Spirited Award for ‘Best International Bartender’ in 2012.
Sharing the centre stage, Monica cut her teeth at Oslo’s Himkok and Pollen Street Social in London, before winning Drinks International’s 2019 ‘Bartender’s Bartender’ title, taking home TOTC’s Spirited Award for ‘Best International Bartender’ that same year. To put it lightly, Alex and Monica’s trophy cabinet might require some reinforcements.
Although predominately known for their bartending prowess, it’s Alex and Monica’s interest in topics outside of hospitality that has helped to solidify their brands. The duo looks to trap music, fashion, art, the cosmetics industry and even skateboarding for inspiration, which is perhaps why there are so few points of comparison for Tayēr + Elementary. It is a bar of true, distilled, unparalleled innovation.
A bar of two halves, Tayēr + Elementary comprises the street-facing Elementary which is approachable with seasonal cocktails, bottomless coffee and space for meetings. Tucked to the back of the building is the slightly more high-end Tayēr, derived from the Spanish word for ‘workshop’, featuring the bespoke, much-photographed ‘hexagonal Tayēr station’. The spaces are tied together by the pair’s penchant for Japanese minimalism and Scandi functionality with punk influences.
For most bartenders, opening a bar is the ultimate end goal, but for Alex and Monica, it’s just one more feather to their respective bows. In 2016 they co-founded P(our), a non-profit symposium focused on bartending culture. In 2019 they launched Muyu liqueurs, and then Back of House, a digital platform for hospitality workers to safely report workplace harassment, discrimination, and other issues.
Despite being the busiest people in bartending show business, you’ll hear in the ēe series, how Monica stresses the importance of taking time for herself. “I love to hang out with friends, I love to work with people outside of our industry, but I also scheduled time for myself every single week to do the things that I like. It's important to find a balance between private life and work, so that you feel like you are performing to the best of your ability, and more importantly, that you feel that you are happy.”
Never ones to rest on their laurels, both Alex and Monica are keen to extol the virtues of working hard, focusing on the details and being flexible. As Monica explains: “The only way you're going to be a better and more successful version of yourself is by constantly improving.” Their mantra, ‘Hustle Magic’, is at the core of everything the duo put their minds to. Alex explains: “Successful bar entrepreneurs don't wait for things to happen, they go out and make them happen, and what really sets hustlers apart is their level of focus.”
So, how exactly did Alex and Monica hustle their way to the top? In the ēe series, we’ll be covering everything you need to apply their methods for success to your own plans. Whether that’s opening a bar, organising events, collaborating with like-minded people, or launching a product, this series is full of helpful takeaways, tips and advice. So, grab a notebook and pen and join us for the ēe series, coming soon to The Blend.