Raising the Bar with Hayden Lambert
New Zealander Hayden Lambert, owner of the new and hip Melbourne bar Above Board, and all-round cocktail maestro talks learning the tricks of the trade in Belfast, his inspirations and humble beginnings.
HOW DID YOU START OUT IN THE BAR TRADE?
I started out helping in the hostel bar my brother was running in Austria. At first I was collecting glasses and then I moved into making drinks behind the bar. That lasted two months and by some chance I ended up in Italy running a bar in a campsite on the outskirts of Rome. That’s where I learned so many valuable lessons but where I really fell in love with bartending was under the influence of Sean Muldoon at the Merchant Hotel, Belfast.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
That’s a tough one but my wife Erin and my son Marley inspire me to be a better person every day and hopefully that reflects in the person I have been and I am still becoming.
WHO DO YOU ADMIRE IN THE NI BAR TRADE?
Tim Herron is a great friend of mine and a very humble guy who continues to work in the bar trade. He’s a sound and humble bloke with a great work ethic and an awesome personality. We need more Tim’s in the world.
WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED IN YOUR CAREER?
Loads! There are far too many to mention but I think challenges make you better. Some you do really well with and some you don’t. In November with the help of my wife and my business partners I opened a 16-seat cocktail bar in the heart of the up and coming suburb of Collingwood, located just outside Melbourne CBD. I’m proud to say that I built a lot of the bar. I left the American walnut bar top and cabinetry to the experts! This has and will bring its own challenges, which I look forward to facing.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A BAR PERSON WITH ASPIRATIONS?
Be prepared to start at the bottom. If you want to learn then find the best people to learn from. Try to keep things moving and fresh and avoid long periods without personal growth. Dare to dream big and don’t be scared to tell others of your dreams. In bars you never know who you will rub shoulders with, they could be the key to achieving your dreams.