At Bar Convent Berlin, we spoke with Jeffrey Morgenthaler – a bartender, physicist and architect. In addition, he is the author of two books that changed the lives of many bartenders, “The Bar Book” and “Drinking Distilled”. One of them is Zoran Lukić, president of the Croatian Association of Waiters and Bartenders, whom Jeffrey delighted with his work and whose books were a source of new information, inspiration and enthusiasm.
I’m not the owner, but a manager, just an employee. I still do four nights a week behind the bar.
No, I have two degrees. One in physics and one in architecture. But it just wouldn’t make sense for me to do anything else. It’s what I love. It’s the only thing that I’ve ever been truly good at. Like I was saying in my presentation, I don’t always love it, sometimes I hate it, but that’s part of the business, too.
I should write them down someday, because we all know what they are, but we never really quantify them.
I would mention a few of them, and I would say that they are:
We’ve got a lot of values like that. I find that some fancy cocktail bars might value spirits education the most, or innovation might be the most important value; there is nothing wrong with that, but in my bar, I just want myself and everybody I work with to enjoy the place that we’re working at. So that’s why they stick around for so long.
– Zoran Lukić
It’s not an easy task. I wasn’t born to be a manager; this has all been constant learning for me. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, but you don’t just throw away the whole thing because you made a mistake. Like I said in my talk, I don’t bother if you’re not always the best bartender in the world, as long as you try your best.
Yes, I was the best American bartender for 2016. I don’t take those awards that seriously; I am not bothered about being the best, I just want to have a place where everybody is comfortable and happy.
People get really crazy about these awards. I have a lot of awards, but I just never gave them that much importance.
I was writing for Playboy for about six years. They were really trying to expand their cocktail coverage I think to be more like Esquire or GQ magazine. We had some fun and put out some good articles. That was cool, I’ve got the Playboy mention and it’s something to cross off the list.
It’s all tied together. I show up in the morning and I take care of things that need to be taken care of in the bar. Then I jump behind the bar and after I get done, I do a couple more things and then I go home.
Trying to be a good person really helps. I feel like that’s important. Just always trying your best.
Most of us don’t really go out for drinks after work. At the end of the day, everybody has their own business, families, relationships.
I was talking about how I was trying to learn photography. One thing for me that really helped was finding the people that you want to be like: study them and try to be like them. There were no famous bartenders when I started bartending and you couldn’t read an article on internet about Alex Kratena, it just didn’t exist. So, I would find the bartenders in my town and just watch them, hang out and learn everything that I could from them.
Always. I’ve got a bunch of ideas and I’m always pushing them forward. You’ll see more photography from me, first. A lot more photography.