Winner of the 2019 Bartender’s Bartender award at the World’s 50 Best Bar Awards, Monica Berg is a highly regarded name in the drinks industry. Flavour & ingredients are always front of mind and form the foundations on which her first bar, Tayēr + Elementary, which she opened in June 2019 with partner Alex Kratena, is built. The menu changes daily depending on what’s available but incredible flavour & a memorable experience is guaranteed.
For this month's Six with Seedip, we caught up with Monica to find out more about the bar, how she keeps herself inspired and what excites her most about 2020 & a new decade.
I. Tell me about Tayēr + Elementary. Why was it important for you to include a food element in the bar?
We had a very clear idea of what we wanted to do at the core of Tayēr + Elementary, but similarly we want to keep it flexible and ever changing. Tayēr, which is inspired by the Spanish word ‘taller’ meaning workshop, is a place where manual labour is done and where people meet to discuss, create and engage. Our biggest focus is what is inside the glass and what’s on the plate, and we want to give ourselves the luxury of being immersed in the pursuit of flavour and deliciousness.
In the front of the space you enter through Elementary, which is an all-day venue with a more casual and laid-back approach; simple and seasonal drinks, flavourful snax and bottomless coffee. Almost like if you imagined going to a cocktail bar, was like going to the pub.
For me the most interesting things always happen in the presence of both food and drink, and I think it’s such big part of who we are, that it would have been impossible not to include it in our bar(s).
II. Tell me about one of the non-alcoholic drinks on the menu.
Our drinks are always created with a focus on flavour profile and ingredients, rather than the classic approach of categorising drinks by base spirit or drinks category etc. While alcohol is a great carrier of flavour, there are many other ways to get the same result without alcohol. But, if you want to achieve the same kind of complexity and depth of flavour, not to mention a variety, you need to invest a bit more time and effort.
III. How do you keep yourself inspired?
By anything, everything and everyone. I’m very curious by nature. I always ask a lot of questions and sometimes it can be the smallest thing that sets off my curiosity. For the longest time I was obsessed by root vegetables. I have a secret dream to create my own cocktail jewellery, and I’m super into farming and farmers welfare! Nick Strangeway once said, “if you want to become really good at what you do, you need to go out and do other things.” And I couldn’t agree more!
IV. This year you were crowned Bartender's Bartender at The World’s 50 Best Bars Awards. Congratulations! What would be your advice be to someone looking to bartending as a career?
Don’t believe the hype. Bartending can be an amazing career path, it certainly has been for me, but you need to understand the profession and commit to it. Otherwise you’ll burn out. Like any other job, it has its ups and downs. While having a passion is great, if you want to be successful, you need to learn how to be disciplined because it’s not always going to be fun and games. Hard work is everything.
V. Who would you most like to go for a cocktail with?
Alex Kratena, my partner.
VI. 2020 is around the corner. What excites you most about the new year & a new decade?
All the new opportunities that will come!!! #HustleMagic
@monicasuh on Instagram