Meet the Christmas Party Team: Bar Staff

Bar Staff

There is now just one week to go until the Cooper Associates County Ground hosts its first Christmas Party Night of the year.

With this in mind we will take one last look at the people who will be making sure that you enjoy the perfect party experience.

Over the course of eight nights Somerset County Cricket Club’s Catering Department will be hosting around 4000 party-goers across three separate venues within the ground.

Let’s meet the people behind the all-important bar!

We caught up with Bars Controller Mark Beckhurst and Bars Supervisor Ross Maconchy to see what they will be getting up to this festive period.

How are the Christmas Party Nights for you?

Mark: “They are right up there with the T20 matches as our busiest time of the year. With the three venues it’s a lot like a match day because you have the three main bars to manage.”

Ross: “It’s a lot like the cricket season really. The first party night is like the first T20 match of the season.  You put a huge amount of effort into the planning and the preparation and when it arrives you just fall back in to the swing of it. It comes naturally. It can be very demanding when you have three nights in a row and from the word go it’s absolutely constant behind the bar in the County Room. That’s why we do the job though. It’s about being able to deliver under pressure.”

County Room Bar

How good is your team?

Ross: “We’ve been very lucky indeed with the staff that we have had over the last few years. You need a good strong team because it can be a very long evening. We have to work really closely with all the departments and it’s a real team effort. We have to work really closely with the waiting staff when it comes to collecting and washing glasses and things like that. We have at least five people on the main bar in the County Room, three upstairs in the Long Room and one or two over in the 1875 Club.”

Mark: “I’ve got some really good bar leaders. Ross runs the main bar and keeps an eye on that for me. We’ll have another good little team up in the Long Room and although it’s mainly table service in the 1875 Club we still need to have a good team behind the bar over there to make sure that the more formal black-tie events go smoothly.”

Tell us a little bit about the special cocktail bar…

Mark: “We purpose build the cocktail bar in the County Room each year and fully stock it. We then come up with about half a dozen cocktails which we sell from there. We also stock it with cans, wine and a top shelf. It also helps to take the pressure off the main bar. We’ve been planning the cocktails for about a month now and the menus have all been printed. We reason we plan so early is because we have to get the menus printed in plenty of time. We do a number of popular cocktails but we also try to come up with some winter ones too like a Sparkling Rudolph! Essentially it’s traditional cocktails with a bit of a Christmas twist.”

Cocktail Bar

It sounds like a lot of hard work. Is it worth it?

Mark: “It’s hard work but it’s really good fun, just like a T20 match-day. It’s down to us to make sure that people really enjoy their Christmas party and their enjoyment is down to us. We want to play a part in making them want to come back again next year.”

Ross: “There’s a lot of pressure on us to deliver a quality event each night and we are determined to do exactly that. Mark and I have been here long enough to know exactly what we need to do to get things right. Although it can be hard work, it’s definitely worth it when you think that by the end of December we will have made thousands of people happy. It’s nice to be able to watch so many people enjoying themselves.”

County Bar