Animated serves

The brains behind Crucible, Stu Bale, believes this project is an opportunity to level the playing field for bars because the expensive, high-maintenance equipment associated with premium bars is now more accessible. “I think what’s really great about our place is that you can take someone like Van Gough, a genius in his field, and try to teach him traditional methods and it wouldn’t work. There are going to be so many talented people who don’t want to do things the normal way, so they can come here and have fun.”

Last year, bartending legend and entrepreneur Dave Arnold released the Spinzall – a simpler and streamlined version of a lab-spec centrifuge. Arnold’s invention is another potential solution to the accessibility of cutting edge drinks because, ultimately, it unlocks the door for bars to work with a simpler and cheaper piece of kit while taking up half the shelf space of a conventional centrifuge. This angle could be an effective way of keeping customers engaged – especially if they can see it happen in front of their eyes. Arnold’s movement towards creating a streamlined strand of lab equipment doesn’t stop there.

The Searzall is an accessory for a blowtorch which provides an optimum distance for searing ingredients. In fact, this piece of kit is so accessible that bartender and former Monkey Shoulder brand ambassador Dean Callan has one in his garden bar in south London. Callan has spent the past year building his ultimate home bar in a cabin in his back garden. It’s equipped with everything from a Negroni machine to adjustable spotlights and it also transforms into a fully functioning movie studio for his Youtube channel and a projector drops down to unleash his gaming habits.

Although it may seem like a hobby which has gone further than expected, it acts as a thinking space for Callan to visualise his dream bar – after all, he basically built everything from scratch. Some people would think spending more than £20,000 on a garden bar is excessive, but it’s more than just a bit of fun.

While immersing himself in his cabin, Callan has thought up ways of perfecting the service in his future bar. “I want what I do in here to transfer to a bar in real life,” he says. “I have so many ideas and I don’t think a bartender’s tools should be restricted to behind the bar.” Callan has come up with a more efficient and flexible design for a bar. “The issue with having a fixed bar is that it becomes very difficult to change anything once it’s there. When I open a bar I’ll want to be able to change the actual bars to optimise service, depending on where people gravitate in the space.” Callan has come up with the idea of a modular bar, which can be adjusted to match the needs of the bartender, such as height and layout. He wants every element to be adaptable.

The concept of moving, modular bars would then allow space for more handheld tools to sit behind the counter. Alex Kratena, former head bartender at Artesian, points out the usefulness of refractometers. “This piece of equipment precisely measures sugar content of liquids, alcohol levels and much more. This allows us to be consistent” Another handy device is the micropipette, shown off by Stu Bale in Crucible. This allows bartenders to add miniscule amounts of a liquid to a cocktail recipe or a garnish, boosting precision.