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Published 28 March 2022

Category The Zetter Clerkenwell

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Take a look into the story of one of London’s best Bar Managers, from his roots, to where he’ll in future lay his boots.

When one listens to Anas El Bahhaj speak, you are transcended into a different dimension entirely, whether you’re in the industry, been a bartender, or don’t even drink, Anas will take you on a journey with him.

During his early 20’s, El Bahhaj travelled to many places around the world. What struck him, and began his career in the industry was his job in an Italian café on Miami Beach. He found his passion for people, food & drinks. He then moved on to Ibiza where he got his first position as a bartender in a cool restaurant down by the marina and this is when he came to the realisation that the bar is where he belongs.

That experience lead to his return to London where, for El Bahhaj, the best bars and bartenders are! He wanted to learn from the best, and perfect his craft. He went from being part of the opening team at the Sky Garden, to Opium speakeasy bar and then joined the Zetter Townhouse family in 2018.

El Bahhaj’s inspirations vary from every individual he has worked with, from team members to managers, he took a lesson from each and every one. However, his biggest inspiration in life is his father.

El Bahhaj’s father always had such a wonderfully bright and positive outlook on the world and the best lesson he taught him, is to never give up on his dreams.

In his creations, inspiration can be taken from anything he comes across, from cookbooks to the scent of his girlfriend’s perfume and everything in between. He blames Ernest Hemmingway for his flare with Daiquiris, El Bahhaj’s favourite cocktail to make!

El Bahhaj takes huge pride in making it into the Top 100 World Class Bartenders UK list last year as well as leading his fantastic team at the Zetter Townhouse Clerkenwell that work so hard!

During discussion, El Bahhaj, as many in the industry, tells of the struggles hospitality is currently facing. The ongoing difficulty of dealing with the long term effects of COVID-19 and Brexit. These experiences have made everyone rethink everything from where ingredients are sourced from to how recruiting is done whilst managing the requirements of a team.

The dream, which is evident he will achieve, is for El Bahhaj to open his own bar (or hotel, dreams are limitless after all). Somewhere by the beach, being responsible for guest’s experience from start to finish, executing with the refined way only El Bahhaj knows how.

Whilst working towards this dream, he would love to be able to work on site 2-3 days and then consult with brands and other fun projects so others can be as passionate about cocktails as he is!

It is evident, El Bahhaj has a way with words, as he does with drinks, and these go hand in hand for becoming one of the best bar managers in London.

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