Bartender of the Month
Allen Callaghan of The Ubiquitous Chip, Glasgow
Once upon a time, Glasgow's cuisine was famous for its ‘chips with everything' mentality. Now the Ubiquitous Chip lives on in name rather than reality as one of the city's most renowned restaurants and bars - doubly renowned now, considering the Ash- ton Lane pub is also the working place of Allen Cal- laghan, the last of this year's winners of the Black Heart Rum Bartender of the Month Award. As far as Allen is concerned, barwork is in his blood. Different strands of his family own bars on either side of the Atlantic, with his mother and aunt presiding over establishments on the south side of Glasgow itself.
'Pubs have come and gone in our family for as long as I can remember,‘ he explains. 'I must have pulled my first pint at the age of eleven. But although I've worked in many, many bars, I wouldn't say it‘s so much the bar trade l'd want to stay in as this bar I'm in now. It's the only bar in the West End I know of that doesn't have music or fruit machines - the founder really believes in the art of conversation. The
clientele is made up of over 80 per cent regulars and so, although it’s not a social club, it's a fun night whenever 30 or 40 people come in through the door that I know by name and who know me. That way it's kept to a personal level while still being professional.‘
The bar draws in everyone from lawyers to play— wrights, businessmen to actors. First and foremost a wine bar, it also prides itself on having an
experienced staff who can shake up any cocktail
'lt's the only bar in the West End I know of that doesn't have music or fruit machines - the founder really believes in the art of conversation.’
under the sun - with the ubiquitous Black Heart Rum always on hand. In fact, from a creative point of view, it's likely that Allen will come up with a mixture that is a work of art in itself. At the moment,
he's considering going back to art school to finish off the degree he dropped out of three years ago.
We fallen away from the real graphics side,‘ he admits, 'but, sure, I'm drawing all the time. I've got sketchbooks coming out of both ears. Ultimately, however, because my family owns bars, I feel I'll be in this trade for a good long while.‘
And so, maybe the notion of visiting relatives over the holiday period isn't one that will bring a wel- come break from work?
'No,‘ he laughs. 'I'II probably end up doing twelve
hours here and twelve hours behind a bar some— where else. I don't know when I'm going to sleep.‘
Photograph: Douglas Robertson