Bartender of the Year 2013

It’s H. Not H the Bartender and definitely not H the Mixologist. (“I don’t love that term,” he confides.) Just H. And while his birth certificate may read Robert Holl-Allen-the H bestowed on him in private school at age eight-it was H who, having busted his hump at some of London’s great watering holes (Ronnie Scott’s in Soho, Casita in Shoreditch), drained his bank account and lit out for Vancouver without knowing a soul. That was two years ago, and after an initial stint at the Revel Room he moved to Jules Bistro, where he proceeded to craft a compact but intriguing drinks menu that’s so good it seems out of place in a French restaurant. But it’s his gentlemanly approach to hospitality that’s quickly endeared him to both customers and colleagues. To wit: since shortly after arriving in Vancouver he’s used his day off to organize Sunday School for bartenders, a weekly get-together where H and invited guests conduct casual seminars on all things cocktail. There’s no agenda and zero attitude, just a collection of newbies and veterans from across the city anxious to hone their drink skills in the name of raising the bar on running a bar. It’s this love of the craft coupled with his customer-first approach to service that makes him our Bartender of the Year. In 2013, hospitality is spelled with a capital H.