Second in our spotlight series on the best of London’s party venues in association with Cîroc Ultra Premium Vodka, Nico Peratinos, bar manager at Aqua Nueva, explains why the Formentera Terrace is the place to be this summer.
First, tell us a little about what you do…
I’m the bar manager – I have been for almost three years – so that’s everything from stocking the bars ready for opening or ahead of events, allocating staff to the various areas and serving drinks, to creating cocktail menus, working out what goes well with what, and making sure there’s something on the menu for everyone, whether they like sweet, sour, fruity or whatever. And I always think it’s important if you work in the industry to visit other cocktail bars to see what they’re doing. The thing with hospitality is it’s more of a lifestyle than a job – you can’t just do it nine-to-five. Every day is different, and that’s what I really enjoy about it – coming in and not knowing what will happen.
What kind of events get celebrated at Aqua Nueva?
Oh, all sorts – birthdays, anniversaries, corporate events. Sometimes it’s a sit-down meal with drinks at the tables, other times it might be more of a party with a dance floor and disco balls. And now that the Formentera Terrace has opened, guests can celebrate outdoors when the weather is good.
What makes a good night out in your opinion?
That’s easy: good company. Other things make a difference, of course – quality drinks, good food and nice surroundings, so we make sure we capture all of that on the summer terrace. But to really enjoy all of those things, you need to be in good company.
What sort of crowd do you get here?
It’s quite mixed. At weekends it’s people looking for somewhere special, whether it’s for a celebration or just a really nice night out, and on weekdays you tend to get a lot of people coming for drinks straight from work. That gets earlier and earlier as the weather improves – sometimes it feels like people leave their desks for lunch but just never go back. Which I can understand – who wouldn’t want to be outside having a drink on a sunny day?
What’s so great about the terrace?
The views are amazing. On a sunny day it’s nice to be outside right in the centre of town – and I think we’ve done a great job doing it up. It’s inspired by Ibiza; we wanted to create that relaxed beachy feel, but with a bit of a party vibe, and everything we’ve created – the setting, the food menu, the cocktails – matches the theme, plus there’s the two alcoholic sorbets: Red Berry and Summer Colada, made with flavoured Cîroc Vodka and served on the terrace from a bicycle. As a concept, it just really works.
Tell us about the cocktails…
We’re doing a special cocktail menu for the terrace, with five specially-created drinks. That means we have everything we need for all the drinks out on the terrace bar, and I would rather have just five drinks that I know are all really good than a long list with some that customers might not enjoy as much. That’s why I have a menu that has something for everyone.
And what’s your favourite?
The Formentera Colada. It’s a mix of Cîroc Summer Colada, coconut cream, lime, pineapple, Manzanilla and Abbott’s Bitters. It’s a drier, slightly more sour take on the normal piña colada, which is very sweet. I wanted to create something really refreshing for summer that’s not too sweet.