Coupette: Former Savoy bartender unveils his first solo venture
Chris Moore, former head bartender at The Savoy's Beaufort Bar, on bringing a French accent to the East End
Opening my own bar is something that I've always wanted to do. The idea came to me in September 2015 – I remember standing behind the Beaufort Bar and the concept forming in my head. I handed in my notice the next day.
Coupette is a local bar with a French accent and a laid-back aesthetic. The theme simply came from a love of the products and the attention to detail that I see in French culture. It's really interesting for me to look at the traits that are inherent to a culture that isn’t my own from an objective point of view, and it’s challenging to try and take them and implement them in a way that isn't a gimmick.
Historically, the bars in Bethnal Green have always been hubs of the community, and that feeling is something that I really liked the idea of being a part of with Coupette. I want people to have a sense of ownership over the place, and to become a part of what we're trying to do there. I also think that there is a sense of open mindedness in Bethnal Green, and a wonderful desire to discover and try new things.
There were a few drinks that were always going to be key players, and we built the rest of the menu around them over a period of almost a year. The three that have really hit the heights are the Champagne Pina Colada, Truffled White Negroni and "Apples", which is made with our Calvados of the month and cold-pressed, carbonated apple juice.
I remember walking into Tonic in Edinburgh in 2004 and being made my first Old Fashioned. I thought: "I want to be able to do that". And I haven't stopped since. I ended up working at Tonic, and then spent time in a bar called Annex 3 with Nick Strangeway and Milo Rodriguez. Those were my formative years. London's cocktail scene keeps on rising and rising, and the pool of talent that keeps coming through is what always surprises me. The trend I see in some places that I really like is one where things are going back to basics. Bartenders making innovative, wonderful drinks who aren't in your face about it, but will talk you through the processes if you want them to.
I think the biggest thing I've learnt from my past experiences and working at The Savoy is that it's important to take care of, and be fair to, the people that are working for you. You have to guide them, but also give them room to grow and the chance to prove that they can step up. Micromanagement and shouting doesn't work, freedom and a positive environment means they can relax and give our guests the best experience possible, and that's what it's all about.