Novus reveals its bartender of the year after 12 months of challenges

Novus Toby Smith Charlie Bath

A bartender from Portsmouth has won the first national Bar Tender of the Year competition run by bar operator Novus.

Charlie Bath from Tiger Tiger in Portsmouth triumphed through a series of challenges over a 12-month period, culminating in a grand final in London. He is pictured with Novus CEO Toby Smith.

The competition, which started with 200 contestants, aims to showcase Novus’s commitment to making bartending a career while also nurturing team engagement, a competitive spirit and innovation. It is also part of the Novus strategy to put the experience of its customers at the core of the business.

Charlie won a cash prize of £4,000. All five finalists won a private bar and, in the coming weeks, both Charlie and the finalists will be working together to design a campaign alongside London Cocktail Week in October.

The competition featured 40 heats and four quarter finals, culminating in the grand final at Novus’s Sway in Covent Garden. Throughout each stage, contestants were tasked with showcasing speed of service, menu knowledge, accuracy, innovation and personality.

As part of the heats, they had to demonstrate they could pour shots to the millimetre, within a two-minute window, while also creating a signature cocktail.

The quarter final heats saw 15 entrants challenged with showcasing their best cocktail while also creating two cocktails within a five-minute period.

In the grand final, five bartenders went head to head across a mystery box round, which allowed them to show off their skills and let their creativity run wild.

The final stage of the competition saw the contestants creating a cocktail that demonstrated enough spirit and personality to be rolled out across the Novus estate, taking into consideration gross profit, ingredients and ease of creation for all teams.

CEO Toby Smith said: “Congratulations to all our contestants, finalists and our overall crowned winner, Charlie, from Tiger Tiger Portsmouth. We have an awesome bar team with exceptional skills.

“We’re committed to making bartending a career while driving team engagement, creativity and innovation to ensure we continue to put the experience of our customers at the core of our business.”

Novus Charlie Bath Bar Tender of the Year

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