Erik Lorincz will leave his position as the head bartender of the American Bar at the Savoy – the World’s Best Bar 2017 – to open his own bar in London.
Bar manager Declan McGurk and Lorincz revealed the news exclusively to Drinks International at a small gathering of the American Bar team at the Savoy, aimed at celebrating Lorincz’s eight-year tenure.
Lorincz became the American Bar’s tenth head bartender in 2010 as part of the bar’s re-launch team, and will leave just months after the bar took top spot for the first time at The World’s 50 Best Bars.
Over its near 130-year history, the head bartender position at the American Bar has been occupied by some of the great legends of the bar industry. The current site of the bar was first presided over by Ada Coleman, inventor of the Hanky Panky. While Harry Craddock, creator of the White Lady and author of the seminal Savoy Cocktail Book, was head bartender in the 1920s and 1930s. Modern-day legend Peter Dorelli’s tenure lasted from the 1980s to the early 2000s.
Lorincz, the winner of World Class in 2010, will go down in history along with these famous names; his own contribution being the reinvention of the American bar and its return to greatness. “The American Bar has always had a big name and reputation but through the hard work of the team we put it back on the map of the cocktail scene, as a destination rather than a tourist attraction,” Lorincz told Drinks International. “This is something that I can say we achieved and now the American Bar is famous for reasons beyond its history. I spent eight amazing years here and while I leave with sadness, I want to come back to visit with happiness. This bar has shaped me as a person and made me a better bartender. I will proudly own the title of head bartender of the American Bar forever. It’s a special title.”
Lorincz will leave the American Bar in May 2018 to open an independent bar in central London, a venture that has been in planning for three years. “Today this opportunity came into its final stages so it was time to tell the team. It’s a dream of any bartender to own their own bar, and now it’s time for that chapter in my career. Just like when I joined the American Bar, it’ll be a totally new experience for me. My bar will be in central London – in the triangle between Artesian, Connaught and Bar Termini.”
Before leaving, Lorincz will oversee the launch of the American Bar’s new menu, which this year draws inspiration from the photography of Terry O’Neill that adorns the walls of the bar. The menu, which is a colaboration between the whole American Bar team, will comprise 20 cocktails, each inspired by one of the famous photographs.
Having worked alongside Lorincz for five years, McGurk will now start the process of finding the 11th head bartender of the American Bar. At this early stage, McGurk said candidates could be drawn from inside or outside of the current team. “I believe it’s the greatest opportunity in bartending,” he said. “Erik has set a standard for the bar and the industry and the next head bartender will have to bring a new direction to the bar too. For now, we’d like to celebrate what Erik has achieved for the bar and wish him success for his next chapter. He’ll still be involved in what we do here. In a sense Erik isn’t really leaving – head bartenders don’t leave the American Bar – so Erik will still be part of the family. He will be here for launches and to induct the new head bartender and hand over his shaker.”