Third in our spotlight series on the best of London’s party venues in association with Cîroc Ultra Premium Vodka, charismatic mixologist Rosco Nolan draws us into the musical charm of members’ bar Little Tape.
Tell us about your job…
I don’t even see it as a job any more – I just come in and have a laugh, that’s it. When I arrive, I chat with Sergio, who works the bar with me – he’s like my right hand, this guy – then we set the bar up, people start arriving and having a bloody good time. My dad always said, ‘If you get a job and you love it, you don’t have to work any more.’ How right he was.
How did you get into it?
I sort of fell into it. I didn’t come out of doing Maths at school and want to be a bartender. I came to London from Newcastle in 2008 to be a comedian and was a stand-up for a year and a half. I was doing all right, and enjoying myself, but I found I preferred the company of the people I met while working in a theatre bar, and so I worked my way up from there. I’ve been at Little Tape since January 2016. I’ve never had a job like it.
There are lots of private members’ bars in London. What’s special about Little Tape?
Me! (Laughs) Not many places in London have got a Geordie working behind the bar; I’m not the nice, slight Italian you’re used to. No, I think, because it’s quite a small venue, it has more intimacy – more of a family feel. When I’m at the bar I can see everyone coming in, and if it’s a regular, I’ll get their drink ready. It’s sort of a speakeasy as well as a members’ club. I don’t think anyone comes here and has a bad night. Some places try to be prim and proper, but I don’t think it needs to be. If you’re going for a night out you just need good people in a fun environment.
What sort of crowd do you attract?
It’s mixed. We get quite a few A-listers, like Drake. He’ll come in and be all, ‘All right, Rosco?’ and high-five me. And I’m like, ‘Hello, Drake. How’s things? I’ve been to Pret today – what about you?’ And he’ll have flown in from somewhere on a private jet. It’s funny. I don’t get the red carpet out or anything, though – I’ll treat everyone the same whether they’re drinking a coke or the most expensive bottle of champagne on the menu. They’re all people at the end of the day, and the important thing is to have a laugh.
Tape is music-themed – what interesting things will we find there?
There’s some pretty decent stuff. We’ve got Buddy Holly’s guitar, which he’s played. That’s insane. We’ve got an original Banksy print. The original contracts for both Led Zeppelin and The Beatles. We’ve a Nirvana set list written by Kurt Cobain – so much great stuff. And obviously there’s the recording studio as well.
Who’s recorded there?
Loads of people. Rag’n’Bone Man, Drake, Justin Bieber… and all the time while they’re in there recording stuff, people are just hanging out in the bar. Just sat here having a drink while Drake is cracking out a song. It’s pretty cool.
You won an award for Best Bartender 2016… how did that come about?
Basically, I was working the Saturday night and some geezer came in and spoke to the boss at the time. I was busy so was just buzzing about the place, and later the boss pulled me over and said, ‘There’s a competition on Tuesday for Bartender of the Year at London Club and Bar Awards and we’ve just entered you in it.’ I said, ‘Sweet,’ and he said, ‘So get a cocktail ready.’ This was at 1am! So I put a drink together based on an ex-girlfriend who’d done me over. And it won!
What summer drink would you recommend?
Cîroc pineapple, fresh lime juice and tonic. It tastes just like the pineapple cubes I used to eat when I was a kid! I did the Abu Dhabi Formula One after-party in 2015 and it was sponsored by Cîroc pineapple, and I was recommending it to everyone - people always love it. In fact, I’ll make you one now…