In the charming city of Saint Petersburg (Russia), a team of firebrands is all set to change the way you drink…and the way you think.
Alyona Kovalchuk, who some of us probably know from El Copitas, is now on the brink of something very special – a brand new aperitivo cocktail bar with an all-women team in the heart of Saint Petersburg. Opening in just under 2 weeks, Tagliatella Caffe is perched to be the first of its kind in Russia and one of only a handful of female-run cocktail bars in the world. The project is brought to life by the same team that is behind award winning bars Paloma Cantina and El Copitas, which already instils a fair bit of confidence in us – this team knows what it’s doing.
Originally from Ukraine, Alyona moved to Russia not too long ago to join the El Copitas family as a bartender. Needless to say, in true El Copitas style, she mastered the ropes, and was soon on her way to nurturing her dream – to run a bar with an incredible team of women with fire. Tagliatella Caffe is (as the name suggests) inspired by all things Italian – the Italian influence on the city’s architecture, that crisp Italian hospitality, aperitivo culture, and of course, classic Italian food and drink. The drinks menu is particularly exciting, showcasing a beautiful selection of classic Italian style cocktails, seasonal drinks, cocktails by fellow bartenders from bars all over the world, and even cocktails with vintage spirits.
Each member of the Tagliatella Caffe team is cross functionally trained – this means any one can work any shift and in any area of the bar with equal proficiency – a masterstroke in management, and one that we always advocate for any venue looking to maximise output and also empower its team. The beauty of a cross functional team is that it allows each member of the team to feel independent and complete in themselves while also demanding more than the bare minimum from each of its members – in a cross functional team, it’s not enough to just know your job. This also allows for team members to learn from each other and empathise more with colleagues once they’ve been in their shoes and learned their challenges first hand.
The team at Tagliatella Caffe, under the able guidance of Alyona and her mentors Artem, Nikolai, and Zernow, have taken tremendous strides in perfecting the art of hospitality. Anyone who has ever walked into one of their bars knows how it feels to be served a drink by this team and has regaled their friends back home with stories of the same. It is this fine art of hospitality that one can expect to experience at Tagliatella Caffe.
So why a women-only bar team, you ask? Alyona and the team are keen to dispel the notion that bartending isn’t a “real job”. As with a lot of cultures on the periphery of the first world, the idea of bartending is often seen as a stop-gap way to earn a little pocket money before one finds a real job. In the Soviet and Russian speaking communities, it is rare that a woman will consider bartending as a legitimate career option, and this is the very notion that the team would like to dismiss. The goal is to create a social institution to inspire more women of the Russian speaking community to recognise bartending and hospitality as realistic career options that they can truly succeed in. The intent is to work femininity and womanhood into a successful business model. The team factors in all possible protections including anti-harassment policies and maternity leave, ensuring each member of the team is looked after and allowed the space and opportunity to be a successful career woman in the bartending world, by providing them all the tools and support. It is our belief that the world could use more instances like this that go beyond tokenism and words on a page – real actions with real results. There is a lot to be said about the idea of empowerment gracing the pages of what we write and what we say, but it is refreshing to see ideas brought to life that actually drive that change on the ground. A fair bit has been said about this being a predominantly male industry and this team is all set to walk the talk and change that in their own way. Anyone who is set to empower the community by driving that change has our heart and our full support. We like it when people let their actions speak for themselves.
About the author:
Priyanka Blah is the founder and editor of The Dram Attic. She has spent the last decade discovering the world of bars through extensive travel, and has been chronicling the evolution of the drinks industry from both sides of the bar, paying particular attention to guest experience, menu innovations, and creativity.
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