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Stephanos Athanasiou
11 Feb 2017

Being boss, host, bartender, and a businessman/role playing…how do you apply yourself to these?

I have started working in hospitality from a very young age. I was lucky enough to work in all the positions. Now I’m in a situation where I can be grateful for all that I have learned and experienced. It doesn’t really feel like I am a  boss because I’m still operating in all the positions in a more effective way. I think that I have always been responsible in every position, despite the fact that lots of friends disagree on that! Most probably it is because I act in a very calm, effective and effortless manner! Shlllaaaaang!

 

 

Is a grand idea a fantasy or an unrealistic dream?

This question sounds like a cheesy soap opera!

Madame Bar is neither a grand idea nor a fantasy. It is not an unrealistic dream either. It is not science fiction, it is just an ORDINARY bar where different customers can find their own reasons to visit it. Madame Bar is a fact. It is an everyday bar where customers, guests and friends feel comfortable for either a casual evening with excellent drinks, food, music and good vibes, or for their special night out.

 It is not something that has being created by luck or a push from an external factor

 

 

People talk about your Dream team and their support to the concept?

We are a team who regularly talks, listens and exchanges different opinions with each other. We like to evolve and keep pushing, we are never laid back and we always strive to get fresher and fresher, better and better. The crew of Madame are handpicked and trained in a certain way.

In these two years of operation, we are almost the same crew as we were at the beginning, but now we also have new additions to the team, which is what we want. Although myself, my partners and the crew have been together for two years, the main feeling about Madame is that there is always room for improvements. We engage a specific style on operating things like a non smoking policy, signature food and cocktails and different styles of music, but all under the same aesthetics of Madame. I can happily say that lots of people share the same taste as us, but as is to be expected within this industry, they are also some who don’t.

That’s why we support and recognize other styles and tastes. It is always good to have a selection of things in our everyday life.

 

 

If you could change one thing in your professional cycle what would that be?

As I have said before I believe in constant evolution, development and review. This is also the same process that I apply in my personal life and my professional cycle.

I have studied hospitality by practice and have followed the right people at the right time. No I am finally in a position to be followed by others and share my knowledge, passion and experiences with them. I’m still keen on exploring and am very much open to new things. I desire to be surrounded by people with knowledge and passion and I use and filter their inspiration to suit my own standards. I would change nothing, everything has happened the way it has happened, for a reason and you become the result of these actions. This interview, for example, might be a reason for a rise or a fall.

Listen … if you start thinking “what if…” or “how might it have been…” you are doomed from that moment, once and for all.

 

What are the feelings from the perception of an idea to create a moment to its execution?

You might have a picture or a specific feeling in your head, as an artistic and creative personality and then you have the need to express it. This is where you need the talent to export it. In hospitality we are called to create an experience that combines lot’s of elements. The sense of taste, vision, sound and texture need to all be a perfect balance. Really hard work and struggle on fine tuning the details is key.

 

What goes on when you are surfing?

Surfing? Facebook work’s then! You are obviously talking about my annual headstand picture on the S.U.P, I’m a natural, I can only do that move and 360s on a large board. I love the sea and I couldn’t imagine myself living far from the coast.

 

When you are to create a drink list what parameters would you consider?

As far as the creation of a cocktail is concerned, the first rule is the quality of the ingredients and how you can balance them. After that, there is a small detail that I can’t share I’m afraid, because that detail leads to the success of any cocktail!

The A to Z of a cocktail is the balance of alcohol, sweetness, acidity and water and then to loose your imagination and create.  A Daiquiri for example, is rum based cocktail with sugar and freshly squeezed lime, a perfect cocktail to practice your mixology skill. If you understand those basic rules, then you are ready to create the nicest cocktails for you and your friends. They can be either classics or signatures. A basic thing to understand, is that there is a big difference in creating a cocktail for your friends at a cozy house party, and working behind a fast and demanding bar.

 

 

Give us some of your magical ingredient marriages that you think are unique.

To give you a marriage of magical ingredients, you need to come and work for me and earn it haaard. Some things might sound wow in a description full of rich syrups and sauces, with rare ingredients  like a tear drop of the lost princess and a hair of the mummy of Tutanhamun and after the first taste all the mystery and prrrrffftttt, KAPOUT. Deliver what you have promised man or keep it simple, we will still love you dude. (this goes for the fellow bartenders). And no I won’t give you any signature recipes, come to my bar and enjoy them!

 

What’s the best moment behind the bar for you?

On a daily shift lots of magic happens. The moment of preparation feels like meditation, a few minutes before the first customer arrives and then you have the performance. You never know who stands on the other side of the bar. You need to give your best smile and behavior and most importantly of all, to keep the balance, the balance on your drinks and balance between the customer and the bartender. Then, before you know it, it is the end of another night. While everybody is leaving you start the closing prep. I enjoy every moment behind the bar. it’s full of surprises from minute to minute. The people are making the night, the bartender is the fire starter.

 

Cyprus seems to be way up font in the world of bartending and cocktailing. What is your opinion and your future vision?

Cyprus bartending is way upfront in the world? Yes it is. Nice bars, best quality drinks, best equipment but my question is, have we yet found an identity? Is there a culture or is it the fashion? Wear a bow tie, a vest or a colorful apron with a tattoo sleeve and, yes, I’m a mixologist. I believe in the new comers. The economical crisis has brought to the business lots of people from different fields and that’s how our profession eventually gets the recognition it deserves. You are hooked, from the first after party as an insider with your new family.

 

Advising newcomers to this field what would be your most important message to them?

The newcomers, enjoy every minute, the experiences you gather in such a short time in the hospitality industry is priceless. You need double the time to get it from any other jobs. Finally you come to a state of being able to enjoy the simple things in life.

 

What drink would you pair with smoked herring and why?

Food paring is one of my favorite things. You can always pair your dinner the way you want it. But if you ever suggest it you better defend your opinion, just saying to someone “try it, it’s good”, doesn’t count anymore. Smoke herring? So powerful that the smell stays in your skin but, with a refreshing cocktail palleted on citrus notes and based on a spirit with intensive characteristics, there is a match. Paloma could be one of them. Tequila, lime and grapefruit soda, loose the salt from the rim because herring is salty enough. The acidity of the lime will wash the fattiness of the fish out and the bubbles of soda will freshen your pallet up. For similar reasons you could pair the herring with a chilled lager or a glass of champange. Champagne loves saltiness which helps to bring up all of its aromas and also its high acidity will freshen up your mouth. Another option could be a wine born next to the sea with high acids like Assyrtiko. I assume that could make a match. I also think that smoked herring would increase the rich flavors of a bloody Mary too.

 

Best slogan?    

Best slogan: we know who we are but we don’t take our self seriously.

I’ve said enough.

 


Stefanos Athanasiou is the Key person behind Μαντάμ bar in Limassol.

He has earned a place and has gained recognition within the hospitality industry and his opinion is greatly valued.

He has created respected work in the past, by aiding in the development of bars and the concepts behind them, but now he is a part of a fresh, new concept in Limassol – Madame bar. This is where he applies his huge range of creativity and constant development.

 

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