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The Voodoo Rooms 10th Birthday Party


Preview

This Saturday – November 25 – you are invited to help celebrate a decade of great music, food and cocktails.

Image of The Voodoo Rooms 10th Birthday Party

Marking ten years of fabulousness, the Voodoo Rooms is reuniting many of the city’s best bartenders and throwing a massive party. Expect music, debauchery, and a “greatest hits” of cocktails. Our advice: Be there!

   

Without doubt the Voodoo Rooms is our favourite bar in Edinburgh, perhaps even the world. From the moment we first walked through its doors, and found ourselves in awe of its black and gold décor, we were utterly in love.

Moments later, we discovered its bar-staff are just as stunning. Not only are they deeply passionate about making award-winning cocktails, they’re genuinely invested in making sure you have a brilliant night.

  

Eight years of “great nights” later, these Social Bitches can’t praise this wonderful bar enough. Spread over several levels and multiple rooms, it not only offers inspired refreshment, but great food, live music and some incredible DJs.

So with Voodoo’s 10th birthday almost upon us, we would like to say many happy returns!

Much love also goes to its sensational bartenders past and present, and of course Voodoo’s gorgeous general manager Jonny Linstead.

   

 

In the lead-up to the big night, we joined Jonny for cocktails (well rude not to), and asked how he and his team do that voodoo so well …

Social Bitches:
What was the original vision for the Voodoo Rooms ?

Jonny:
The owners wanted it to be the coolest place in town, best drinks, best food, and best atmosphere. Basically they wanted to tick all the boxes, and I think we’ve definitely done that throughout our ten years.

Though for me, I think the live music thing is really important part of our success. The different spaces within Voodoo mean we can do quiet acoustic gigs, big rock bands, hip hop, jazz bands, you name it.

Social Bitches:
What inspired the fabulous black and gold décor?

Jonny:
The idea was for Voodoo to have a mysterious side, but with a Victorian edge. So yeah, there’s wood panelling, the black and gold, high ceilings and chandeliers. But then there’s little bits of art that have a Tiki or a voodoo vibe.

Social Bitch:
The décor is definitely our first love …

Jonny:
We get so many tourists coming in just to take photos, not to buy drinks unfortunately. You instantly see their jaws drop. It reminds me of my first shift. I’d never seen anywhere like Voodoo before, I was gobsmacked. So every time I see this reaction, I remember how I felt on day one.

 

Jonny’s favourite Cocktail #1

THE QUEEN BEE

Distil No. 9 Vodka and an adventurous mix of Cointreau, honey water, Angostura bitters and Orange bitters, royally served up in a tea cup.

Our Verdict:

Utterly refreshing, and 100% fabulous!

 

Social Bitches:
So what’s the secret to a great cocktail?

Jonny:
Balance! I also like combining flavours you don’t think go together, but for some reason they totally work. And of course presentation is massive, there’s a lot of theatre that goes making a cocktail. I have the utmost respect for people who come up with these crazy, marvellous ideas.

Social Bitches:
Which brings us, rather nicely, to Voodoo’s bar staff … in short, well, we love them …

Jonny:
Voodoo’s all about the people. The amount of incredible bartenders, managers, and waitresses that have worked with us over the years, who’ve gone on to do great things, is amazing. I’m lucky to have worked with these people, and to call them my friends. It’s pretty special.

 

Social Bitches:
Originally, you started working in the cloakroom …

Jonny:
Yep, nine and a half years ago. I looked it up actually: March 30, 2008.

Social Bitches:
Though you soon had your eye on the bar?

Jonny:
I said to the GM at the time I’ll do anything to work in the bar, I’ll clean glasses, whatever. He was like: yeah, yeah, just make sure you get someone to take your job in the cloakroom. So that’s what I did.

Social Bitches:
So … then you started making cocktails?

Jonny:
No, not quite. I was a general bar bitch for a while, getting ice, getting fruit, stocking the bar. It was such an amazing way to learn. I was constantly asking questions. I was like: where’s this rum from? Why’s this liqueur called this? Just learning constantly, and taking notes.

Social Bitches:
And now, nine and a half years later, you’re the boss. What’s the secret to your success?

Jonny:
Be passionate, always look to better yourself. Things can ALWAYS be better. A keen eye for detail helps, allowing me to spot all those little things that make a customer’s night so much better.

Social Bitches:
Speaking of which, we think it might just be time for our next drink …

 

Jonny’s favourite Cocktail #2

NO. 171 COOLER
Portobello Road Gin, lemon and home-made spiced tea, poured lovingly over ice.

Our Verdict:

Close your eyes, ignore the actual weather, and soak up summer in a tall glass!

 

Social Bitches:
What’s your favourite thing about working at Voodoo?

Jonny:
When the bar’s really busy, the restaurant’s full, and maybe there’s a wedding on … Towards the end of the night, you speak to people and they say “thank you, I’ve had such an amazing night.” I love that!

Social Bitches:
So how is it being surrounded by people “under the influence”?

Jonny:
Oh it’s great [ laughs ] .The amount of time I’ve worked here, I think I’m good at gauging how “under the influence” people actually are. Everyone has a different tell, they might get upset or wobble about. The classic: they’re having a conversation with their friend and they’re shouting, even though they’re sitting right next to them.

Social Bitches:
We hear you have catchphrase that you use to sum up the Voodoo Rooms experience …

Jonny:
It’s pretty cheesy …

Social Bitches:
Go on …

Jonny:
Okay … at Voodoo Rooms we don’t just mix drinks, we mix people [ laughs ] Actually, that might be someone else’s catchphrase. I just thought: I’m gonna steal that.

 

Jonny’s favourite Cocktail #3

WHISKEY MACKLEMORE
A clean and rich shakedown of Mackmyra Whisky, Stone’s ginger, crème de banane, walnut bitters and fresh ginger served over ice.

OUR VERDICT:

Just the right amount of kick, LOVE IT!

 

Social Bitches:
Where do you see Voodoo being in another 10 years time?

Jonny:
Global domination! We’ve adapted and evolved, and I think we’ll continue to do that. We’ll be doing great food, great cocktails, and putting on great music. I don’t see Voodoo dropping the ball anytime soon.

Social Bitches:
What advice would you give to your successor, if there was one?

Jonny: Work hard, take every day as a school day. Never let the standards slip, and just strive to be the best. Yeah, that’s it.

Social Bitches:
So tell us about the tenth birthday big party?

Jonny:
It’s a tip of the hat to everything we’ve done since day one. We’ve got the Voodoo Alumni of bartenders returning, plus a bespoke cocktail menu featuring old favourites, top sellers, and some of the daft ones we used to sell.

My band Black Cat Bone is playing, and Mr Meaks is spinning in the main bar. He’s been one of our most memorable DJs throughout the years, so I’m sure they’ll be dancing in and on the bar.

   

Social Bitches:
No doubt it will be a memorable night, but over the last decade what’s been your most memorable experience?

Jonny:
Well … we had a whisky training event, Dewars I think, and they’d brought in people from all over the world. Towards the end of the night I had to cover while Andy, the barman, took a break.

Straight away, this woman asks me for a French Martini. I was like “ Ummm …. Errr … sure, no problem.” But it was the first time I’d EVER made a cocktail. Luckily, Andy was still there and talked me through it.

She was over the moon with it, but then rest of group started ordering cocktails as well. They were like “can we get five of this, five of that?” I was like “Oh shit!!” and had to use the cheat sheets to make their drinks.

In one night I went from making my first-ever cocktail to making every classic drink you can think of, for people from all over the world. It was amazing.

So I look back on that as my most memorable moment, because it was when I first went: “I’m making drinks, I’m making people happy”.

Jonny & the team will continue to make people happy at
THE VOODOO ROOMS 10TH BIRTHDAY PARTY
this Saturday 25 November 8pm – 2am.

The Social Bitches will see you there.

19a West Register Street, EH2 2AA

www.thevoodoorooms.com

/ @social_bitches


Derek & Isaac (noun): two very social bitches; lovers of good coffee, great food; drinkers of far too much champagne. It’s their continuing mission to explore, consume and review Edinburgh’s first class bar & restaurant scene.

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