Food & Drink Awards 2019

Page 66 LUXlife 2019 Food & Drink Awards Since humble beginnings in 2012 as a members-only club, Lab 22 has broadened its horizons and is now one of the most popular spots on Cardiff’s drink scene, working under the mantra of ‘nice drinks for nice people’. We caught up with Lab 22’s Max Hayward to fine out more. Lab 22: Cocktail Bar of the Year 2019 - Cardiff Hidden behind a non-descript door on the high street, you might not notice Lab 22 at first glance. Step inside, however, and you will find what is undoubtably the pearl of Cardiff’s drinkeries. Determined to stay ahead of the herd, Lab 22 pushes forward with confidence and kindness. The idea of ‘nice drinks for nice people’ permeates every aspect of the business and is certainly a major factor in Lab 22’s success. “As our attitude has progressed, so too have the expectations of our guests,” states Max Hayward, Lab 22’s Bar Manager. ‘People come to Lab 22 with the expectation of delicious, fun and unique drinks partnered with excellent service, so we do our utmost to meet these expectations.’ The combination of innovative mixology and caring customer service certainly seems to have had an effect. While Cardiff’s cocktail scene has steadily grown over the last couple of years, Lab 22 remains on top. it’s a sure-fire method of success. In every aspect, Lab 22 forges its own path in how it makes its cocktails, and what cocktails it makes. Known throughout the city for inventive and entertaining cocktail menus, there’s more than one trick behind the impressive achievements of this bar. “There was never a good knife made of bad steel, the same goes for cocktails!” jokes Max. ‘ It’s easy to take for granted that high-quality ingredients will be used in this sort of establishment, but Lab 22 goes a step further, doing its utmost to source everything locally. They even go so far as to collect food waste (such as avocado stones and banana peels) from surrounding restaurants and up-cycle them into new ingredients. “Not only does this help reduce our carbon footprint when making drinks, but also presents new and exciting flavours which you won’t find anywhere else.” It’s a clever and resourceful way of looking at how to make a big effect with a small impact. Similarly, the way in which the delicious cocktails are prepared matches the thought and care put into what they are made from. Using modern techniques not used elsewhere in Cardiff has kept Lab 22 ahead of the curve. Tantalising drinks such as a clarified screwdriver, a vegan friendly bourbon milk punch, and two separate RTD cocktails can all be found on the bar’s award-winning menu, ‘Pioneers + Revolutionaries’. It’s a mixologist’s paradise, and the staff at Lab 22 are encouraged to put all their energies into making the finest drinks possible for their customers. Now far removed from the members only club it started at, people from all walks of life can be found in Lab 22. All are welcomed into the bar and treated with the familiar mantra of ‘nice drinks for nice people.’ As Max says, “there’s no room for ego at the bar, and the interest of your guest should always come before your own.” This willingness to adapt and go with the flow is why there’s always an eye kept on oncoming trends within the industry, and the business at large. “Low and no alcohol drinks are becoming more and more popular,” Max informs us, “so we have been sure to cater towards this rising popularity the best we can.” Clearly Lab 22 constantly strives to improve, drawing on new and exciting tastes and flavours. Package it into a relaxed, easy- going atmosphere, and you have something that simply cannot be bought. Cardiff’s leading cocktail bar deserves its accolade, transformed as it is, from a quiet members- only club to an establishment that serves and engages with the community at large. All of this from the desire to make nice drinks for nice people. Company: Lab 22 | Contact: Max Hayward Telephone: 02920 399997 Website: