Daryl Lieuw-on

Age: 31
Originally from: Rotterdam
Profession: Manager NY Basement
At: Rotterdam

Hi all! My name is Daryl, a 28 year old bartender based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

11 years ago I started in this industry as a runner in a student café. My brother was working there and he told me that they need someone for one night only, somewhere around Christmas. (Today is day 6215) At that time I wasn't even old enough to visit the place where I was working, so this whole nightlife thing really amazed me! It felt so magical to see how people really enjoyed themselves in bars. They were dancing, laughing, and drinking. But most of all, the way that these bartenders entertained the guests was so good! I knew that that is what I wanted to do!

I was a barback in that bar for almost 2 years, until a friend of mine asked me to come and work where he was working. This was the America Dream cafe, an American themed bar and restaurant. So they served all kinds of American dishes and the bartenders made cocktails! I started as a barback but within a year I got a chance to take the training program for bartenders. Our manager back then, Barbara van Wegen, was a really though one so she drilled me to be a bartender. For months she told me what to do, and what not to do. I'm forever thankful, but back then.. ?!!#%$#.

Finally I could step behind the stick and inmediately felt in love with it. Making drinks, talking with all kinds of people and having fun while doing it.
After a couple of years I started working at Thalia Lounge; This was a really cool club where the best DJ's of the Netherlands played their tunes and where we made cocktails on a very high volume.

But after a while I didn't want to do it anymore, kinda lost my mojo and passion for bartending. So I did some construction work instead and went to college. But after a year I got a call from a friend and he asked me if I could help him (again) for "one night only", in a club in the centre of Rotterdam. After a couple of months the owner opened a little cocktail bar in the building right next to the club. I had some experience in cocktails so I helped out, and I definitely made the right choice! I started reading cocktail books again, went to masterclasses and literally did everything I could to gain extra knowledge. I found my passion again and knew that this was what I wanted to do!

In 2013, me and my buddy Edward Nijhoff got asked to make some cocktails on weddings and some other occasions, so we started a little company called Concrete Shakers. With Concrete Shakers we provided cocktail bars on site, workshops, trainings for bartenders and consultancy. What I still do today!

In 2015 I started at the NY Basement in Rotterdam, a new fine dining & cocktail bar in the Basement of Hotel New York. This is the place where I'm still working right now, and also the place where I started with competitions. I always thought that competitions were not my thing, but I soon realized that it also helped you, as a bartender, in many ways! For example: if you have to present a drink, you have to work on a perfect cocktail, how to use your voice, attention to detail, how to present the drink and yourself! But these are all things (once you get better) you can use on a regular night behind your bar.

This year I became Entree's Best Bartender 2017 of the Netherlands!