Anna Sebastian

Words by: Difford's Guide

Anna had an unusual journey into the world of hospitality, “As with a lot of people I fell into hospitality, it was never something that was really on my radar and when I left school, the actual plan was to go into the Army…but things changed and I ended up working in high volume members clubs in Mayfair.”

A range of jobs then followed including working on the door as a host and then working behind the bar, which was her first real introduction to hospitality. “I remember being in this nightclub in Soho, and this guy walking in and he just had this presence about him....he was the thing that linked everything together, the music, the drinks, the ambience, and I thought wow this is amazing, I want to be able to do that.”

After a short spell working in PR the buzz of working in a bar proved to be irresistible and when The Savoy reopened in 2010 Anna applied for a position as a hostess in the American Bar.

Unbeknown to Anna at the time, the American Bar was a place for a cocktail pilgrimage – and soon Anna started to see the industry as something much bigger than just pouring a vodka lime and soda.

This was just the start. Three years ago Anna moved from the American Bar to the Beaufort Bar. “It was a big change. In my head, I didn’t know if I was ready for it at the time, but I saw it as an amazing opportunity to be part of the new bar in The Savoy. It’s so very different from the American Bar but in that respect we are lucky to have two such incredibly different bars under one roof.”

“It was amazing to work with people like Chris Moore who started to teach me about why cocktails are important and particularly the balance of drinks.”

Anna didn’t come from a bartending background and continued to learn on the job; through both teaching herself and learning from her peers and colleagues. “It wasn’t just about delivering hospitality and service, but I had to learn and teach myself about drinks – it’s not just about making an amazing drink, that’s such a huge part of what we do, but also about the experience and the hospitality.”

“Hospitality, for me, is really how you make that person feel. Making sure as soon as the guest walks in, they have that welcome, they have that engagement, and that the way they feel when they leave the bar, is better than they feel when they came in.”

Bartending has been seen a male dominated industry but Anna thinks things are changing, “A lot of people say, you are a woman, you are in the minority in this industry and yes, maybe we are. But things are changing as more and more women are going into this industry and making a huge mark. There are amazing people in this industry, doing absolutely incredible things. That should be very inspirational.”

It’s obvious then that Anna is glad she took this path, “When I come in every day and look at the hotel, this bar…what we do here is very inspiring, and I feel very lucky to have the chance to be part of this.”

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