Mak­ing Abu Dhabi his Casa

Di­nos Con­stan­tinides is the driv­ing force be­hind the 25th best cock­tail bar in the world, Lost + Found, and he’s now help­ing open a new Cuban cock­tail bar, Casa de Cuba, in Abu Dhabi

Caterer Middle East - - News -

How did you get your start in bar­tend­ing?

I started bar­tend­ing for a hobby in 2001; that was the first time I ever made a drink. I started again while I was study­ing in Lon­don in 2005 and slowly my hobby be­came my pas­sion. Af­ter I fin­ished my stud­ies I went back to Cyprus. My par­ents wanted me to get a se­cure job in a bank or some­thing… I didn’t want that. I man­aged to trans­form my hobby into my job and opened the first bar­tend­ing school/mo­bile bar ser­vice in Cyprus.

You went on to per­form in com­pe­ti­tions?

Yes. The Bac­ardi Legacy Mid­dle East com­pe­ti­tion in Le­banaon with coun­tries like Cyprus, Tur­key, Syria, Abu Dhabi, and Le­banon. I won that one which opened some doors. I re­ally en­joyed the net­work­ing, cre­ativ­ity, and fun nights. Not so much the fun nights any­more as I’m al­most 37. Now I’m more busi­ness fo­cused.

How did Casa de Cuba come about?

I was in Athens and got a call that some guys from the UAE wanted to visit my bar in Cyr­pus (Lost + Found). I went back to Cyprus and opened the bar for them, we show­cased some cock­tails, they got ex­cited about our work, our menus, our place, our story in gen­eral. They said we need to do some­thing to­gether. We have been try­ing for two years and this is the op­por­tu­nity that fi­nally came in front of us.

What is Casa de Cuba?

For me Casa is a big bar, small club. It’s a mix­ture. Open air, sea­sonal, nice cock­tails in a small list, but with the vibes of a club which is some­thing that I be­lieve works.

Why Abu Dhabi?

It was a pos­si­bil­ity in Dubai but things turned and we’re do­ing Abu Dhabi. I’m go­ing to do some­thing crowd­pleas­ing — this is what club­bers need. Easy flavours, tasty, ap­peal­ing to the eye, In­sta­gram friendly drinks. I don’t know the mar­ket, but I strongly be­lieve that ev­ery­where is a mar­ket for these kind of flavours and cock­tails.

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