Top 50 Cocktail Bars

Get to know: Alexander Taylor

Learn all about Pennyroyal's (number 36) owner, Alexander Taylor

Charli Tomney | 11/04/2022

Name: Alexander Taylor        
Bar name: Pennyroyal
: Taylor, inventive right?
Pronouns: He/Him
Job title: Owner/Bartender
Favourite drink: Manhattan
Accolades: Nominated for Class Magazine Bar Manager of the Year back in 2018, also steered Pennyroyal to 4 consecutive Imbibe Drinks List Nominations, GQ Bar of the Year Nomination in 2020 
Key skills: As an owner I have found that I can juggle working point, dealing with guest escalations, communicating with tradesmen for repairs, responding to bookings and messages on social media and speccing drinks to fellow staff all at the same time without a full blown aneurysm.

What got you into cocktail bars?

The usual graduation, call centre, Australian working VISA route and falling into a high-end restaurant that taught me the classics starting with martini’s and Manhattan’s.

How many years have you worked in the industry?

Hospitality since I was 17 (it’s rude to ask how long that is)

How long has Pennyroyal been open?

Coming up to 5 years since Pennyroyal opened... seems like that should be celebrated!

What makes a great cocktail bar?

Atmosphere and service first, always.

What do you enjoy most about the industry?

The impact you can leave with a guest; whether by helping them discover a new favourite drink, or ensuring their first date goes smoothly, or hosting an important celebration- they will always remember the bar they were in.

What’s a signature drink of yours?

I wanted to share one of my favourites from our upcoming new menu called Redwing:
40ml Redbreast 12
15ml Amaro Montenegro
10ml Portobello Sloe & Blackcurrant Gin
15ml Lemon Juice
7.5ml Maple Syrup
1 dash Angostura
Shaken up with a cherry garnish

Favourite post-shift meal?

A Rye Manhattan and a cold shot of Fernet

What does being a Top 50 Cocktail Bar mean to you?

I opened this bar on a real shoestring budget when I was 27, so things like “marketing budget” haven’t ever really existed. To graft through tough Welsh restrictions and then be acknowledged on the list has been lovely encouragement.

What is the best cocktail bar you’ve ever visited?

Picking between Swift and Satan’s Whiskers would be far too tough. Both are kings of the art of service, coupled with immaculate attention to detail with their drinks from glassware, ice, balance, washlines, freshness of ingredients and sheer perfect consistency. Both on another level in the UK right now.

What do you enjoy most about working at Pennyroyal?

Working for myself means pure creative freedom for both myself and the team. The focus is always on quality, not margins.

Least favourite ingredient?

I would say coriander, but I might need to employ a chef one day and don’t want that community to hold it against me.
Tomato juice. In the bin with your cold soup.

What does the future hold for Pennyroyal?

Hopefully getting some bar siblings, keep your fingers crossed and eyes peeled.