Drink and be mar­ried

Two of Hal­i­fax’s favourite mixol­o­gists pour up a brand-new busi­ness, The Clever Bar­keep.

The Coast - Halifax Weddings Guide - - Expert Advice - BY AL­LI­SON SAUN­DERS

The cash you spend on the dress, the flow­ers, the pho­tos goes a long way to not just make your mo­ment next-level mem­o­rable, but make sure you feel like a mil­lion bucks. But the food, the drinks and party are just im­por­tant—they’re the things that guests are still re­hash­ing next day.

Jeffrey Van Horne and Matt Boyle know this. Not only are they two of the city’s lead­ing cock­tail in­no­va­tors, but they’ve been to a lot of wed­dings. And now they’re gear­ing up to launch The Clever Bar­keep, an en­deav­our that’ll blend their ex­pe­ri­ence in and pas­sion for top-notch hos­pi­tal­ity, art­ful drinks and pol­ished, per­sonal ser­vice.

“It stemmed from a lit­tle bit of want­ing to try some­thing dif­fer­ent that the city hasn’t seen be­fore, it also came from a fa­tigue realm,” says Boyle. “Both of us were work­ing a lot in bars, and work­ing late. We wanted some­thing new.”

The busi­ness will fo­cus on qual­ity bev­er­age ser­vice for spe­cial events (mainly wed­dings and cor­po­rate gigs) and also spread­ing their ex­per­tise via con­sult­ing. The Clever Bar­keep will of­fer skilled bar staff and beau­ti­ful glass­ware and is will col­lab­o­rate with cou­ples to find the per­fect mix—whether it’s wel­come cock­tails, his and her spe­cials, non-al­co­holic op­tions, wedding punch or colour-co­or­di­nated bevvies.

“We re­ally want to push the aes­thet­ics. We have a lot of small de­tails that will set us apart,” says Van Horne, who plans to build a cus­tom bar for out­door or al­ter­na­tive venues. “This gen­er­a­tion is very fa­mil­iar with cock­tails, and it’s a re­ally sign of a so­phis­ti­cated wedding to serve a nice cock­tail, in a nice glass.”

“You’re kind of swing­ing and miss­ing if you can’t pro­vide an ex­pe­ri­ence that makes peo­ple feel at home. It’s about a finely crafted hos­pi­tal­ity pack­age,” says Boyle. “But also, brides and grooms want some­thing that’s unique, some­thing they can call there own.”

The pair wants to keep its Bar­keep pack­ages flex­i­ble for dif­fer­ent set-ups, lo­ca­tions, bud­gets and vi­sions. “And it’s re­ally im­por­tant to pro­vide a safe en­vi­ron­ment for peo­ple to im­bibe,” says Boyle, mean­ing al­co­hol doesn’t have to be part of the equa­tion. And if it is?

“We pro­vide hang­over tinc­tures at the end of the night.”


Matt Boyle and Jeffrey Van Horne push cock­tail aes­thet­ics with The Clever Bar­keep.

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