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The Modern Bar Cart Podcast

Mar 12, 2020

This time around, Eric gets to know two awesome bartenders-turned-consultants: Susan Eggett and Alex Maynard. They’re the masterminds behind the new beverage program at Sobre Mesa, a new Afro-Latino cocktail lounge opening in Oakland, California. Inspired by Chef Nelson German’s desire to celebrate his Dominican roots and African heritage with cuisine and beverages that sport a distinctly New World flair.

But let’s face it. Opening any sort of bar or restaurant is a massive undertaking that requires an expert eye for the use of space, people, ingredients, and money. In this conversation with Susan and Alex, we have the chance to really look under the hood and see what that means.

During this conversation with Susan and her bar consulting partner Alex Maynard, some of the things we discuss include:

  • Why Susan and Alex both decided to return to their native Oakland after very different careers, and how cocktail culture has evolved in the city over time.
  • How Oakland has developed its own community-centered bar identity separate from the gravitational pull of the San Francisco cocktail scene across the bay.
  • What it takes to curate a bar program like the one at Sobre Mesa where the food and drink need to be in a direct conversation with one another.
  • What hiring strategies can be used to build a team capable of opening an ambitious bar and restaurant concept.
  • And how Susan and Alex are utilizing Caribbean ingredients like Soursop Syrup and Jerk seasoning to give guests an experience both completely foriegn, but also extremely homey and comforting at the same time.
  • We also chat about the merits of salt in cocktails, the similarities between bar teams and basketball teams, where to grab a drink with Dean Martin,
  • And much, much more.

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to open a bar or to take a project from concept to reality, then this interview is a must-listen. Whether you’re in the industry or someone who just appreciates a well-run bar, there are tons of little nuggets of wisdom in this chat that will help you along with your own future projects, or simply allow you to enjoy a drink at your favorite bar all the more.