What’s shakin, cocktail fans? Welcome to Episode 262 of The Modern Bar Cart Podcast!
This time around, I’m joined by returning guest Mark Sansom, Content Director for the The World’s 50 Best Bars, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, and now – The World’s 50 Best Hotels. He’s a global citizen and promoter of the hospitality industry who has an eagle eye view on macro trends and a finger on the pulse of what’s hot in various cities, countries, and regions. Last time around, our conversation focused on the many innovative ways that bars and restaurants grappled with COVID, and now, with the industry on the mend and travel back on the menu at nearly full capacity, we have our eyes trained on what it means to own and operate a hospitality venue in 2023.
In this wide-ranging conversation with World’s 50 Best Content Director Mark Sansom, some of the topics we discuss include:
- The myriad ways in which entire segments of the hospitality industry have bounced back from the COVID crisis, as well as the talent- and capital-related symptoms and side-effects that linger on to this day.
- The return of international travel, which dovetails with the launch of The World’s 50 Best Hotels. We dig into specifically how Mark’s organization vets and reviews these venues and what it means to stay at a truly world-class hotel.
- As a sidecar, we also examine the historical and contemporary roles of hotel bars and restaurants – not merely as providing the “board” to the hotel’s “room,” but as engines of profit and innovation that can truly shine with proper investment and human resources.
- All of this, of course, leads us to the question of hospitality in a post-COVID world: what does it mean? And how are the best establishments pushing the envelope. We use the case study of Botanist Bar in Vancouver – winner of this year’s Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award – to illustrate how real hospitality can be an act of natural and cultural ambassadorship.
- Punctuated throughout this chat are the usual delightful tangents that educate and delight, including how Mark tracks the movements of bartenders and beverage directors across time and space, how to think of dehydrators, centrifuges, and rotavaps as “bar infrastructure,” what traditional Thai dish has Mark and me incredibly hot and bothered, and much, much more.
This year, on May 4th, North America’s 50 Best Bars will be held in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico! Mark your calendars.