Ever look at the out-there creations coming from bars such as 69 Colebrooke Row, or Worship Street Whistling Shop, and dream of what you could make… If only you had the same lab equipment to play with?
Wonder no more, as bar consultant Stuart Bale is opening the doors to Crucible, which he thinks is the world’s first bar makerspace, this week.
A creative hub for bartenders to meet and work, it boasts all the techy equipment you could want in one place (centrifuge, rotovap, ice-cream maker, water baths, vacpac machine, dehydrator, thermomix, blast chiller, homogeniser and more), alongside hot desks, a bar with Hoshizaki ice machine, tasting room and mini photo studio. Plus a kitchen with fridge, microwave and coffee machine. Bale seems to have thought of everything.
‘The best use of the space would be to make something in the lab, then make a drink using your new ingredient at the bar, and then shoot that drink in the photo studio,’ he explained as Imbibe took a tour around the facility.
‘It’s going to be a creative hub, networking without being forced to. There’s going to be a wide variety of people that are going to use it – I’ve been speaking to chefs, brands, someone who works in soap, someone in coffee… It’s a really nice mix.’
Free for August
Launching on Wednesday in Haggerston, London, Crucible will be free to use until the 31 August, after which people will be able to gain unlimited access through membership. ‘It’s like a gym membership,’ Bale said.
The first 100 members will pay £50 a month, with the rate then going up to £69 a month. Meanwhile the first 50 brand ambassadors to sign up will be charged £100 a month, with ambassadors after that paying £135 a month.
‘This is almost like levelling the playing field,’ opined Bale as we sat next to his newly painted mural. ‘Not many bartenders have had this equipment to play with. There’s so many creative people out there; I’m really looking forward to seeing what will be produced by them having access to this stuff. It’s just giving people the tools to express themselves. If you want to record an album, you don’t buy a music studio to make it. It’s the same idea.
‘As far as I can tell, no one has done this before. People are quite precious about their equipment. I’m more precious about the music that will get played here! I’ll be giving inductions on how to use the machines, but I’m not going to hold people’s hands the whole time.’
As for the bar, products will be available to use, with Bale inviting brands to donate items for members to play with. ‘Because of the nature of the place, I’d expect brands to drop stuff off. If Smirnoff want to leave some bottles for people to muck about with, then knock on.’
While Crucible will be to all intents and purposes a finished space, Bale will be open to suggestions for improvements. ‘I might look at getting lockers if people want that,’ he said. ‘It’s not like Shoreditch House where if you’ve got a suggestion, you put it in a box! If you want something, we’ll have a discussion.
‘What I’d really like to see is someone from London Cocktail Club and someone from the Savoy maybe making a syrup and booze thing separately, and then they interact and create a drink that ends up on the menu. That’d be brilliant.’
Indeed. Here’s to the future of drinks creation and collaboration.
Crucible, Unit 6, Arbutus Street, London, E8 4DT; firstname.lastname@example.org