Career talk: Opening and running a bar

Join guest speakers William Borrell of Ladies & Gentlemen bars and Denise Medrano of Oak N4 to learn what it takes to open and run a successful wine and/or cocktail bar.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019


Event finishes by 8.30pm.

39-45 Bermondsey Street, London. SE1 3XF

Show on map

How much does it cost?


(includes a welcome drink) 

Event details


This career talk focuses on the people on the front line of the drinks industry - those involved in the establishment and management of bars.

From your favourite neighbourhood wine bar to a large chain of concept cocktail bars, it takes a huge amount of work to establish a successful, profitable business in this unstable economy. Teamwork is everything, the hours are long and there are a multitude of hidden costs and processes to keep on top of. A great bar keeps the show running smoothly, delivering a seamless experience for even the most discerning of customers.  

Many drinks industry professionals began their careers behind a bar, while many others dream of opening up one of their own some day. This career talk is designed to give behind-the-scenes insight into the set-up and day-to-day running of a successful bar.   

Who is it for?

  • You're interested in a career as a bar manager
  • You’re interested in opening your own bar 
  • You'd like insight into how this sociable and ever-changing area of our industry works

Key discussion topics

  • The steps to setting up a wine or cocktail bar
  • The day-to-day of a bar manager, and how this differs when you're the owner
  • Building a bar's reputation and keeping it profitable
  • The challenges of expanding to multiple locations
  • The knowledge, experience and personal attributes needed to succeed

The panel 

The panel will be chaired by our own UK Business Development Manager for Spirits, Liam Scandrett, who has been closely involved with the bar industry throughout his career. He will be joined by two highly experienced guest speakers - William Borrell of Ladies & Gentlemen bars and Denise Medrano of Oak N4. 

William Borrell

William Borrell hadn’t even tasted a Vodka Martini nine years ago, but that didn’t stop him resurrecting a small distillery in Poland, close to his family's farm, and creating vodkas based on the notion of terrior.

To compliment this endeavour,  he began a series of pop-ups aboard a canal boat in Kings Cross London, creating the worlds first floating bar and distillery before founding a series of neighbourhood bars called Ladies & Gentlemen, located in former Victorian toilets.

Denise Medrano

Originally from California, Denise started in the UK wine trade over at Oddbins over 10 years ago, after a studying to be a sommelier in Buenos Aires. 

While at Oddbins she started her highly successful wine blog, The Wine Sleuth. It was through her blog that she was introduced to the movers and shakers of the trade and travelled the globe visiting vineyards and meeting winemakers.

After spending five years freelance, she was offered the opportunity to open and run the wine bar 68 & Boston in Soho. She then moved to The Grocery Wine Vault and Bar in Shoreditch to manage the shop and small bar. The venue specialises in organic, biodynamic and natural wines. While there she converted the list to 90% organic/biodynamic/natural. They currently have around 300 wines on their list. 

Today, Denise is the General Manager of Oak N4, a much-loved local neighbourhood bar in Finsbury Park. Oak N4 focuses on sustainable wines as well as organic/biodynamic. It’s a busy wine bar with a small retail operation with around 180 wines on the list.

Booking Terms and Conditions

Payment in full must be made at the time of booking and places are not confirmed until payment has been received, we cannot take provisional bookings.

Transfer requests will be accepted up to two weeks before each event.

Cancellation charges:

  • Up to 2 weeks before the tasting you will receive a refund less 10%.
  • Within 2 weeks of the tasting fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.

Contact us

Book online or call student services on 020 7089 3841 for bookings or any booking related enquiries.

If you have any other enquiries about any of our tastings please email