Words by Sammy Hemmings and Monica Berg
Photography by Havana Club
"It took us four years, more or less, to open our bar. It was a great learning experience, and despite being very tough and challenging, we did it," says Monica Berg, co-owner of London's Tayēr + Elementary.
Opening in 2019, Monica had a clear vision for the bar. "I want my bar to be fun, engaging and welcoming, but also be progressive and innovative," she says. "I want it to re-imagine what a bar can be; within the community, for our employees and for our partners. It should be collaborative and inclusive – never finished and always genuine. It should redefine how a bar is designed, managed and operated – and most importantly – serve great drinks fast!"
Monica and her business partner Alex Kratena approached the build of their bar with a meticulous eye. "From the comfort of our chairs, to the amenities in our restrooms, and the no hierarchy structure of our team to the educational and training programme," she says. "We have designed our own bar station to be more ergonomically suited for today's needs, and we have collaborated with the best technicians to have the best tap tail system in the world so we can serve great drinks, fast."
A determined and resilient entrepreneur, Monica recognises the challenges she has overcome in bringing her bar to life. "I think the biggest risk we took, was to manage the whole construction of our bar ourselves, because we couldn't afford to get help, and despite having no knowledge of how, what or why sometimes, we still managed to get through it," she says.
Monica also values equality and education. "We have no hierarchy within our team, everyone is equal and everyone's voice is important," she says. "Our biggest focus is education and knowledge, and our ultimate goal is that every team member will have the skills needed to either 1) run our bar 2) run or open their own bar 3) do whatever they want within the industry."
"Looking back, I'm glad we had to fight every step of the way, because in the end, it has made me smarter, more experienced and more empathetic," Monica says.
Monica strives for change in the drinks industry. "I love our industry, but I see a lot of flaws," she says. "I want to help construct a better future for the next generation bartenders, owners and operators. We need to build systematic, sustainable practises which allows people to make hospitality a career that can last a lifetime."