Well, it's all happening in Birmingham. New bars and boutique hotels are opening with heartening regularity, so it's no surprise that Adam Freeth chose to open his bar school there.
Called Shaker BarSchool, it's housed in a Grade II-listed, 1930s-built, former industrial unit, a stone's throw from the new £350m Bullring Shopping Centre, with its futuristic Selfridges.
"We wanted to be as central as we could be in the UK," explains Freeth, the school's managing director. He has trained staff from some of the UK's biggest hospitality companies, among them Hilton Group, Scottish & Newcastle, Luminar Leisure and Cunard Ocean Liners.
The new 1,000sq ft facility - "think of it like a high-street bar but without the punters," says Freeth - is a big jump for the company, Shaker UK, which started life as a stand-alone bartending course in January 2001. The school now delivers hands-on training, which leads to industry-recognised qualifications. "We're trying to promote professionalism and recognition in the industry," Freeth declares.
Course modules include The Customer (including an item on coping with binge-drinkers), The Bar Environment, The Products and The Mechanics of Bartending, with sub-sections taking students through the history of cocktails, bar preparation and keep, sales, tools of the trade and - the most important section, says Freeth - classic and contemporary cocktails. "We take a very classic approach here," he says.
|Anil Sabharwal (left) and Adam Freeth: solid foundation for shake and mix|