Summer Spotlight: Behind the Bar with Conor McGrath

Sure you can serve beer and peanuts and call yourself a ‘watering hole’, but in our opinion, there’s a little more to it when it comes to creating a great bar experience:

Bar seats that people will want to sit on for more than 20 minutes. Check. A thoughtful cocktail list, with a craft beer selection beyond cheap American standards. Check. Last but not least, that friendly face behind the bar that people are happy to call their barkeep. Check.

Beyond our cocktail list, and swell looking seating, we a have a few of those personalities that our regulars call on for a little conversation and trusted recommendations. Take for instance, our bar man Conor. With a love for the classics and facial hair fit for Kent of Inglewood, he’s got the low down on what you should be drinking right now.

First of all, can you sum up Off Cut Bar in three words?

Well, one way to sum it up would be ‘drinking with tradition’ – from the classic cocktails to the decor, we’re paying tribute another era of drinking and hospitality and bringing to life all these great elements from the original National Hotel.

The most popular drink that you’re serving this summer?

The most popular drink right now is the Viceroyalty – a refreshing little number, full of smoky grapefruit and hops. Make sure you try this one next time you’re in!

Best bar advice you’ve ever given someone sitting at your bar? 

The best advice I think so far is telling people there is never a need to apologize for being the designated driver. It’s a pretty selfless role to play when you’re out for cocktails with friends and we still have lots of great non-alcoholic options if you’ve volunteered to be the DD for the evening.

What should everyone be drinking right now? 

I think everyone should be drinking Gin. Right now we love the Ungava Gin, which comes from the Ungava Bay region of northern Quebec, near the Hudson Straight. This liquor gets its curious yellow colour from its ingredients which consists of botanicals like Nordic juniper, crowberry, cloudberry and wild rose hip. Because there’s so little direct light in this area, it doesn’t allow for much colour contrast. That’s my geeky bar fact for this week.

Another one we like to recommend is the Botanist Gin from Islay in Scotland (the island that most people associate with Scotch) that uses 22 local herbs and flowers. It makes for a very refreshing Gin and Tonic this time of year.  Whether you prefer a London dry gin like Tanqueray, or botanical laden Gins like the Ungava, or the Botanist, we’ve got you covered.

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