Taking the bar to the table

Many restaurants, especially those with limited bar space, are turning to tableside cocktail service to provide more customers with the hand-crafted drink experience.

Toby Maloney of Alchemy Consulting turned to an old-fashioned solution as he developed the bar program at New York’s Bar Seven Five, which does not have a standard bar setup.

Inspired by the cocktail service on the historical Pullman Company trains, in which bartenders created drinks and had them finished tableside, Maloney ordered custom-made cocktail caddies for Bar Seven Five.

“When you don’t have a bar itself, so much of the show and experience is the sound of the shaking drink, the look of it being poured into the glass,” Maloney said. “There’s something so very visceral, and that’s one of the great things about being able to do tableside service.”

If a customer orders a mojito at Bar Seven Five, Maloney explained, a bartender would bruise the mint and add ingredients for the drink and ice into a cobbler shaker. The shaker is placed into a caddy along with the necessary glassware and straw. The caddies also have special compartments that hold other accoutrements like beverage napkins and are designed in a way that everything can be carried one-handed to tables. The server then shakes and serves the mojito to the guest at the table.

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