The American Bar welcomes new Head Bartender

The American Bar at The Savoy in London, the current holder of the World’s Best Bar title, has appointed the 11th Head Bartender in its 125-year history.

Maxim Schulte previously held the same role at The Ritz-Carlton in Macau, where he was a key figure in Asia’s thriving bar scene. The 29-year-old, who helped The Ritz-Carlton secure the title of Asia’s 48th Best Bar in 2018 and won the Beefeater MIXLDN7 global cocktail competition earlier this year, succeeds Eric Lorincz who left in May 2018 to open a new bar in London.

Schulte started his career in Hamburg before moving onto the JW Marriott Hotel in Hong Kong, while he has also headed up teams in Bangkok and Saudi Arabia. His move to London heralds the start of a new era for The American Bar, reputedly the city’s oldest surviving cocktail bar.

Schulte said: “Becoming the Head Bartender of The American Bar fills me with much pride and honour. The bar has so much history and has contributed to most bar movements around the planet.

“The position obviously comes with a high status in the bar world, but what most thrills me is to be part of such an excellent team and one that has achieved so much over the years both in The American Bar and in The Savoy. It will be an amazing experience with much to learn and much to do. I am really looking forward to the challenges ahead and am bursting with anticipation.”

The Savoy’s extensive interview process for the role was headed up by Bar Manager Declan McGurk. He set out to identify a candidate with natural leadership qualities, a passion for inspiring teams and a desire to be around guests; creativity, an ability to cope with pressure, selfless humility and a total lack of arrogance were also deemed crucial.

At the top of McGurk’s list, however, was someone with “a touch of romance and magic”. In Schulte’s case, his very first job application after university was to The Savoy and the German-born mixologist distinctly remembers Lorincz making his first julep. After this, Schulte reportedly decided that The American Bar would be his first choice if he were to ever work in London.

McGurk said: “I am so thrilled to welcome Maxim Schulte into both The American Bar and Savoy family. The task of filling the role of Head Bartender is one that I took on with great seriousness and feel that Maxim appeals uniquely to a high number of requirements.

“I look forward to seeing his creativity in action and most importantly enjoying time with our guests and inspiring our teams. Good Luck Maxim and thank you to The American Bar team for setting him up for such a great start.”

Schulte will begin life at The Savoy with a three-week induction where he will be taught about the hotel’s rich history, traditions and values. Following this, Schulte will start the process of creating a new menu alongside his team as he looks to put his own stamp on one of the world’s most celebrated bars.

Words: Richard Frost