From slinging pints of stout in Co. Cavan to working in one of Dublin's most prestigious cocktail bars, Anne Gilhooley, General Manager of r.i.o.t Dublin, has had a cocktail career filled with excitement.
Anne's bartending story started the way most people's have, albeit a little earlier. At fourteen she started in this industry by "wiping lipstick smudges off the top of glasses" in her local pub, before quickly moving on to "slinging pints of stout and snifters of pot stills to the masses in the depths of Co. Cavan."
At 17, Anne left that "pint slinging, stool flinging, ballad singing life behind for a few years", to do her equivalent of finding herself.
Cue a few years of trying anything and everything: from college, ("which didn't last too long"), to brick laying, kitchen fitting, toilet fixing, child minding, house painting and even sex shop owning, Anne was trying to fill her time to ease the itch in the back of her mind that was calling her back to the bar world.
So, how did she end up behind the bar at one of Dublin's coolest cocktail spots?
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Come join Anne and the r.i.o.t. gang for some bank holiday madness 🍹😍🍻🌮 Tonight’s lineup includes live music from the super Andy Baron starting from 7.30pm, followed by @blackwaxrecords in our basement til late 👊🏼💥👊🏼 #livemusic #drinks #bankholiday #party #dj #dance #dublin #templebar
Anne applied for a position as a cocktail waitress in the "elusive" Vintage Cocktail Club. Here she learned about the work and art behind the drinks, saying that the knowledge she gained here from colleagues was "just immense." Anne's first experience of true passion and dedication to her craft, the cocktail bug had taken hold.
Anne left her eventual position in VCC as Marketing and Reservations Manager to take advantage of her youth and freedom, moving to the sunny sands of Santa Ponsa where she worked sixty-three days in a row behind two bars there and regained confidence as a bartender.
Upon moving home, Anne was part of the opening of what she feels is "one of Dublin's last great nightclubs, Hangar, (r.i.p)."
This is where she learned the importance of speed and accuracy behind the bar, adding that "I can't properly express the importance my time and experiences in Hangar had on my career."
Her next stop saw her become part of the "exceptional" team at Peruke and Periwig, leaving as Assistant General Manager to take the plunge and challenge herself as General Manager of r.i.o.t dublin.
R.i.o.t is a Brooklyn-meets-Berlin dive bar on the quays that was created by "legends in the drinks industry as well as legendary street artists Sums and Maser.
Anne explains just what makes r.i.o.t bar special: "We didn't sit idly by as this bar was taking form. We were here in every step, sledgehammer in one hand, recipe book in the other.
"Creating our vision of a neighbourhood bar with high end drinks, at a reasonable price in a relaxed atmosphere to a soundtrack going through the decades from 70's funk, 80's disco to 90's hip hop.
"And then a fuck tonne of neon."
The aim of r.i.o.t is to fill a gap by creating a space, a menu, a feeling of comfortableness and accessibility for the customer.
"We are here", Anne says. "We have personality. We're here to do our job which is to make sure you have fun. Why do we go out? Or out, out? To let loose, to catch up, to dance, to laugh, to forget. I feel that the menu set the tone of our bar. It's bright, fun, accessible, consistent, reasonable, quality.
"This menu was created for you. Not for me to show off, with you in mind."
Anne talks enthusiastically about Dublin's drinks industry at the moment, noting that people are excited about going out again and want to taste and try new things.
Her only comment? "Sometimes craft cocktails can be taken a step too far. Twists on classics is in. When you go to write your own menu or submit drinks for any menu you very quickly realise that almost every has been done at one point before in some form. Every drink can be considered a twist on a classic."
When writing the cocktail menu for r.i.o.t, Anne created one section called “Boozey As F*ck”. These are classic cocktails, she explains.
Negronis, Boulevadiers, Manhattans - the way they were made. "I don't feel I can improve on this long distinguished recipe so I'm not going to change them," Anne says.
"Sometimes things are perfect left just as they are and that's why they last the test of time."
With a quality team and top notch cocktails (their Negroni is one of the best in town), we have a sneaky suspicion that r.i.o.t will last the test of time, too.
You'll find r.i.o.t at 4 Aston Quay, Temple Bar, Dublin 2.