five star london, luxury hotelsEvents In London September 2013

5ive Questions with Salvatore Calabrese of Salvatore's Bar

  • by Charles The Concierge

What is your story and what was the inspiration behind Salvatore's Bar?

My career began in my home town of Maiori on the beautiful Amalfi Coast of Italy at the tender age of 11 when my father found me a job at a local hotel bar to keep me off the streets during the long summer school break. My job was to clean up and run errands for the Head Barman, Signor Raffaello, who soon became my mentor, he was the Humphrey Bogart of Bartending dressed in his impeccable cream jacket, he spoke several languages and was Mr Hospitality, a great grounding experience at such a young age and he has been my inspiration ever since.

From there I progressed to working in the restaurant at Hotel Panorama, Maiori, where I rose through the ranks to become the youngest ever Maitre D' on the Amalfi Coast. I moved to London in 1980 after meeting my wife Sue and began my career again here.

My first job was at The Dukes Hotel where I soon made my name selling Liquid History and developed my unique way of serving a perfect Martini Cocktail, to this day Dukes Hotel still has the reputation for selling the best Martini in the world, Super Dry and Super Cool, by following my technique.

The 90’s was the decade that saw my name grow worldwide. I made a move to The Library Bar at The Lanesborough Hotel where my theatre grew and I developed a reputation for great cocktails helping to inspire the growing cocktail culture here in London, also with the publication of my first book ‘Classic Cocktails’ which became a best seller and sold almost a million copies world wide.

In 2004 I opened my first Bar to carry my name ‘Fifty’ on St James St, which soon became the place to be and it was there that I acquired my nickname of ‘The Maestro’. Salvatore at Playboy followed in 2011, the inspiration was simply to create the best bar and best drink selection in the world with the backdrop of 1960’s glamour and style.

5ive words that describe Salvatore's Bar?

Elegant. Stylish. Cool. Superior. Excellent

What is your advice to a first time visitor to London?

Where to start? London is full of history and it was this that inspired my first foray into selling Liquid History. I would suggest that they walk around our great city and just soak up all that history and of course make the most of our amazing food and drink culture and of course pay a visit to the Playboy Club and my Bar on 14 Old Park Lane.

 What is the most exciting part of being able to create your own cocktails? What do guests tend to enjoy the most?

The biggest dream of any bartender is to create a unique cocktail which will stand the test of time and become a classic, hopefully I have achieved that with my Breakfast Martini already popular all over the world.

The guests at Salvatore’s enjoy the clever creativeness  of our cocktails and the thrill of trying something completely different and the true cocktail connoisseur can even try a vintage classic made with the original ingredients produced at the time the cocktail was created, for example an Old Fashioned made with pre- prohibition whisky.

What is planned for 2014?

Some exciting events planned at The Playboy Club and continuing success at my new venture in Las Vegas, ‘Bound by Salvatore’ at the brand new ‘Cromwell Hotel’.

For more information on Salvatore's Bar, please click here.

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