SETTING THE BAR AND SHAPING SAIGON’S COCKTAIL CULTURE
RICHIE FAWCETT, FOUNDER-MIXOLOGIST AT THE STUDIO SAIGON
Although Richie Fawcett has taken a step back from his days behind the bar and spends most of his time these days producing detailed panoramic pen and ink drawings of the city, Richie played an instrumental role in shaping Saigon’s bar scene and its bartenders. Since he moved to Saigon in 2011, he has opened some of the city’s most notable bar concepts including Saigon’s first independent cocktail lounge in 2011, the luxurious Six senses Ninh Van Bay bars in 2013, Shri rooftop bar and even double authored cocktail manual “Cocktail Art of Saigon”, which was nominated the Worlds best Cocktail Menu in 2017 at Tales of The Cocktail. Today, he runs The Studio Saigon (opened in 2017, currently closed due to the pandemic) and continues to mentor and train many Vietnamese bartenders and industry personalities.
WHO/WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION FOR GETTING INTO THIS INDUSTRY AND WHY?
I spent 3 years as a cruise ship photographer sailing around the Caribbean and Pacific Ocean just before the millennium and drank every classic cocktail you could name made in the crew bars and posts of call along the way. After, I returned to the UK and started as a cocktail bartender in Soho, London and was trained by Venetia Napoli, learning the recipes of the classics I had drunk on the ships.
CAN YOU NAME 3 UP-AND-COMING INDUSTRY FIGURES TO LOOK OUT FOR IN VIETNAM?
• Jay Moir - Layla Eatery & Bar and Summer Experiment
• Lam Duc Anh - Diageo
WHAT’S SOME ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO THOSE LOOKING TO ENTER THE INDUSTRY?
• Be patient, results take time and need dedication
• Don’t put all your eggs in one basket and rely on just one revenue stream - invest in yourself and learn as many skills as you can
• Learn as much as possible about every aspect of the business you want to get into as one day you need to start your own.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST, WHAT’S YOUR HOPE AND VISION FOR VIETNAM’S F&B INDUSTRY?
I hope that the diversity and variety of bar concepts will return post pandemic and we will have concepts that are experiential and out-of-the-ordinary that stand out of the mediocre. As the ancient classic Vietnamese saying goes” Never Binh Tuong always Dac Biet” “Never Average... always Special”
THE STUDIO SAIGON
Operating hours: 12pm - 10pm, daily | Appointment only