You know when you swing the saloon doors open, tip your hat away from your brow and saddle up to the bar, spurs scraping. The bartender polishes a glass, throws the towel over his shoulder and pours a whisky straight before sliding it across the bar and utters the immortal words “penny for your thoughts?”

Well Oaks is a bit like that…without the saloon doors. Our bar team has become well known and loved by our locals. They pride themselves on knowing what you want, no, what you need to drink and how to serve it. With this in mind they’re sharing a few top tips with you on what they and other bartenders, love and about barlife and other things that aren’t quite as rosy, after all the best person to get onside is your local barman.

Here you go:

1. Don’t be shy – but know when we’re busy

One of the best things about being a bartender is meeting new people, from friendly tourists who have only just realised that Sherwood Forest is a real place (and want you to call them up when you visit their hometown!) To passing time with the locals about the weather – an ever-present conversation opener. Here at Oaks we’ve met everybody from musicians, athletes, inventors and global explorers to…David Hasslehoff! We are very lucky. We love talking (as long as we’re not too rushed off our feet) so pull up a barstool and let’s chat.

2. Waving your tenner doesn’t work as well as you’d think

We clocked you as soon as you hit the bar and have a mental list of who is to be served next – no need to flag us down, we’re the professionals and we’ve got you. On the flipside we get it, and appreciate that there are some places you go to where there is no notion of ‘who’s next’ and the person behind the bar appears to have no peripheral vision and serves whoever is in front of the beer pump – even if they have just arrived. You won’t get that with us and any of my fellow experienced and knowing bartenders.

3. Surprise Me

You ask us to surprise you and we will give you one of our favourite drinks and Oaks speciality – a Bloody Mary. Here’s an interesting fact – the kind of people who say ‘surprise me’ don’t like tomato juice – weird but true. Come on people, know what you want or be open to a challenge.

4. Don’t be scared to ask drink questions

We use some really unique spirits at OAKS that are fun to experiment with and mix up into new cocktails. We love it when people ask for something we haven’t heard of and then tell us exactly how to make it – a new skill and a new cocktail to share with our customers. You’re never too old to learn how to make a new cocktail. Tastes change all the time.

5. If you don’t know what you want, don’t worry about it

Some bartenders may find this a little irritating but not us. This is a challenge, what do you feel like? How was your day? What are you planning to eat? It’s great suggesting a drink that customers might love and would never think to order. It’s part of what keeps our job so interesting.

6. Good things come to those who wait – but please don’t make me wait for that last

We know if you have a multiple order it can be easier to order the drinks one by one, not all at once, that’s fine with us. But all we ask is you don’t order the Guinness last, you know the beautiful drink with the six-step ritual which takes precisely 119.5 seconds and is ideally ordered at the start? It’s your own time you’re wasting!


We have a very special cocktail menu coming soon, watch this space or check out our website for updates or OAKS Nottingham on Facebook or follow on Twitter and Instagram @Oaksnottingham. #OAKSNOTTINGHAM