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Pritish Dakhode: Acing the Bar and a Balancing Act

  • Name: Pritish Dakhode
  • Instagram: @pritishdakhode
  • Industry Experience: 4 years
  • Favorite Drink: Daiquiri
  • Favorite Non Alcoholic Drinks: Coca Cola

When dreams and passion meet, the result could very well look like Pritish Dakhode’s foray into the world of bartending! A journey that began as an F&B assistant at Jaipur’s Hotel Trident, to a senior bartender at Bar Tesouro in Goa (No. 4 in Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2022), to a lab lead at CounterTop India and currently the head bartender at Bar Spirit Forward, Bangalore – Pritish’s career trajectory has had many heady turns. Backed by mentors and industry stalwarts like Arijit Bose and Pankaj Balachandran, an affinity for high-energy bar environments, passion for operations and a natural flair for hosting, Pritish’s star is surely on the rise in a span of four years.

Thanks to his “back to basics” training at CounterTop with his mentors, Pritish was able to build a solid foundation to step into his role as a head bartender. His passion lies in building teams and empowering new team members to excel in their roles. What’s his secret sauce? Reading voraciously about industry trends, knowledge-sharing with peers, talking to guests and repurposing all that to create new concepts and cocktails. According to Pritish, “an exceptional bar program is a product of a passionate team, innovation, constantly evolving, and offering something new to keep guests coming back”.

What does his creativity checklist look like? Like every bartender, playing with unique flavours ranks high but Pritish deftly balances it with “what works best for the bar.” In practice, this looks like cost effective-ingredients, mastering the basics and creating efficient systems. Instead of using “10 different techniques and taking 20 minutes to go to a customer’s table,” as head bartender, Pritish toes the fine line between innovation and practicality.

As a young bartender, he is keen to see the new trend of incorporating fresh produce in drinks. From DIY preserves, unique ingredients or running limited, seasonal menus, the beverage industry is at an interesting juncture with a lot of information and education among the bartender community. Looking ahead, Pritish is hopeful that wages in the industry will soon become commensurate with the long hours and hard work that all bartenders put in. “It would be amazing if we continue to push and get new flavors and techniques while also being mindful of the impact on the environment.”

On the personal front, he hopes to do his bit for the Indian bar community. “I work to elevate our standards and being a part of Bar Spirit Forward where international bartenders visit provides a lot of opportunities to learn,” says Pritish. There are also plans to “travel to international markets and bars to further enhance my knowledge and skills – I want to continually grow and contribute to the growth of our local bar scene.” He also dreams of owning his own bar, “a concept that is simple yet curious at the same time. Where every detail is taken care of – I want people to feel relaxed but also excited to come back!”

– Nagwa Kureshi