On lockdown: Jack Wakelin, bartender

Millie Milliken

Millie Milliken

01 April 2020

We virtually caught up with bartender Jack Wakelin, previously of Public, Sheffield, to talk daft bartending videos, natural wine and getting married

The government's decision to shut down bars, pubs and restaurants and the lockdown imposed on the UK population last week means that most hospitality professionals are now spending their time at home.

To understand how they're coping with the challenge we've launched a brand new series of interviews. For the second in this series, we virtually caught up with bartender Jack Wakelin, previously of Public, Sheffield, to talk daft bartending videos, natural wine and getting married.

How have the last couple of weeks been and what have you been up to?

Since leaving Public, I've been working hard on my own project, as I am set to open my own place with my business partner Tom, who was the old head chef at Public – but more on this in the coming months... With there being so much uncertainty around what the next day might hold at the moment, I try to stay as pro-active as I can. If it's not working on the new project, I'm getting out to walk the dog or making my way through some reading. I'm trying to avoid sitting on my phone all day or binge-watch TV.

What are your favourite industry initiatives happening in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic?

I've enjoyed the new era of video bartending, seeing colleagues making drinks from their own homes. Not going to lie, I prefer the daft ones, especially in these dark times, it's exactly what we all need. If you haven't watched Ali Reynolds' videos yet, I highly recommend. 

How are you keeping in touch with your colleagues and industry friends, and what do you think is the biggest challenge for bartenders right now?

Keeping in touch with industry friends is super easy, and I'm trying to check in with them every day to see how they are holding up.

Jack Wakelin's new canned highball
Jack Wakelin's new canned highball

The biggest challenge is obviously employment and people keeping their jobs. Not just bartenders but owners, ambassadors etc – with so much uncertainty and zero clarity on what the future holds, everyone in our industry is in a difficult position. I think last Monday around one million people lost their jobs within our industry, which is just horrific.

In light of this, there are some amazing campaigns out there for any bartenders who may have just lost their jobs. There are the big ones like Guinness' £1m pledge to support the bartending community, but also check out Hospitality Action, Turn2us or The Drinks Trust

What are your plans over the coming months?

I'm going to continue working on my new project as much I can, with the hope to launch during the summer. I'm also getting married in the summer so I've got that to look forward to, too! 

What are your top three drinks to have at home right now?

Guinness always ranks number one for me. I've been drinking my own canned highball too (which we'll be launching with the new project), but apart from those a lot (probably too much) natural wine.

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