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5 minutes with... Jenny Willing

We chat with The Curtain Hotel's Beverage Director about her life in London bars.

How’s life in the super glamourous Curtain?
The Curtain is an extravaganza of drag queens, hip hop, cocktails and good times. So… fabulous.

Where will we find you most days? And what will you be doing?
I can be anywhere. In one of the many bars, sitting in my office or carrying out any one of the more obscure tasks I’ve been asked to complete (there have been a few!) Two days at The Curtain are never the same.  

How did you end up as a beverage director for such a cool space?
After moving down from Scotland to work for Ryan & Iain at Dandelyan, I fell in Love with the London cocktail scene. It was simultaneously the most fun and challenging place to work. When it was time to move on everyone was instrumental in the next stage. Now I’m loving life at The Curtain, lots more to learn and discover with some of the most crazy and passionate people in London.

Have you ever has a cheeky swim in the rooftop pool? 
Just dipped my toes in!

Have you ever had a hero?
I have lots of heroes. All the strong women who are bossing it around me. A tribe of heroes!

You're running late... what’s the one drink we should order for you?
If I’m running late it sounds like I need a huge gin martini with a twist.

Where do you go after shift?
I’ve got Original Sin and Mint Gun Club a stones through away from my house, so that’s pretty handy. if I need more serious R&R I’ll go to Bad Sports. 

Where do you go for late night dirty food?
I’m either working or in bed! But I can find a restaurant that serves a late night cheeseboard like a sixth sense.

What’s your favourite bar in London?
I couldn’t possibly name a favourite bar. Having a Koji Hardshake at Dandelyan, the French 75 at Three Sheets followed by Apples at Coupette and dancing the night away in our club, LP would be a pretty dreamy evening though.

Are there any cocktails you hate?
A dry Manhattan.

Do you have a desert island drink? And bartender?
Aidan Bowie on a desert Island making us both Pina Coladas, surely this is everyone’s answer?

Have you ever freaked out over a celebrity in one of the bars you've worked at?
Only in secret!

If you weren't in booze what would you do?
I was supposed to do Classics in University so… probably still in booze!

Any hobbies outside of hotels and cocktails?
Cultivating an all black wardrobe

What's it like having a dog in bustling London?
I’d like to say thanks to all of the East London bar community that have walked Bobby and probably had a hefty snoop round my house in the last two years.

Are you secretly a part of the Scottish mafia taking over London hospitality?
Yes.

If we asked you out, where would you be hoping we’d book a table?
Lyles or Brawn for lunch then off to get day drunk on delicious wine at P Franco.

What was the worst flat you had in London? 
The worst but also the best was in Bethnal Green with the very person asking me these questions. Let me set the scene, an industry house with 8 people who all worked in different East London cocktail bars. The first one finished work at 11pm, the last at 4am. A solera system of partying bartenders in the living room.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
Super cheesy but watching my friend Nathan get married surrounded by friends at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, New York. I’m a sucker for a wedding, it was all the home grown pickled onions in the Gibson making me cry, honestly. 

What’s the most underrated food spot in town?
Not really underrated but Andrew Edmunds is my payday secret. I love how it has a little handwritten menu and understated outside in Soho where everything is so shiny and new, the food it outrageously good too. Silk Road in Camberwell has the best noodles anywhere. If the owner doesn’t make you stand up with your plate and move to fit more people in you’ve not had the true experience.

What’s your favourite spot in London that’s not a bar?
My bed, naturally. Sitting outside on a sunny, cold day in Clissold Park with a coffee and my flatmate Leah, is right up there. 

We’re buying the shots – what are you having?
Tequila, always.