It is said that bartending is a skill you can take anywhere in the world. Phil Walsh has certainly tested that theory to its limit and he’s enjoying every moment of it. A Welsh boy who has crossed the globe to work behind bars in exotic locales, Phil now brings his skills to the Cayman Islands and O Bar in Queens Court.
He was born in Cardiff but attended boarding schools throughout the UK before attending Coventry University to study French and European Business. After two years he found himself fed up and bored with a real desire to travel. He’d been introduced to bartending in Uni, but that was nothing compared to the action at Zero’s Club on the Greek Island of Zanthe, the busiest flair bar that side of the Acropolis. Phil was thrown in at the deep end and came up swimming like a champion!
Now this particular job was a very seasonal one – absolutely buzzing for some months, and quiet, quiet, quiet in others. Phil didn’t fancy hanging around after the crowds left, not being a big one for meditation and self-reflection, and so he had to find somewhere else to work for part of the year. In the first two years it was Edinburgh, Scotland, where he served drinks and entertained patrons in a cocktail lounge. The next four years took him further afield. He spent his months away from Zanthe in Sydney, Australia where he managed four bars all located on different floors of the same building, and supervised a staff of 46 people.
Whilst working at Zero’s, Phil met an odd sort of chap called Chambers. Little did he know that this strange character would play a part in his life in the future; but I digress… In the seventh off-season he headed to Toronto, Vancouver, and Seattle and in the eighth, Austria (and snowboarding) was the winner. You might call him the Roaming Gnome. I’m sure he’d like that.
It was finally time to move on from Zanthe and all its diversions, so he went to Queenstown, New Zealand, to work in a 5-Star champagne and mixology lounge for 14 months, followed by a vacation in Sydney. Around this time his old friend Chambers got in touch – would Phil like to work at a nightclub in the Cayman Islands where he could display his flair of bartending prowess before an appreciative clientele? How could Phil resist? He waved goodbye to the kangaroos and said hello to the stingrays – in August 2008 he moved to the Caribbean and O Bar – a premier nightclub on West Bay Road.
Phil takes great pride in his job. It may take him five minutes to open a bottle of beer, but the showmanship and dexterity with which he does it simply takes one’s breath away. OK, maybe it’s more like one minute…or thirty seconds. Darn impressive though. His drink recipes are second-to-none, the Bacardi creation accompanying this article being but one example of his attention to detail.
Will Phil stick with bartending in the future? There’s no stopping him now! Even if he buys his own bar, he won’t be quietly sitting in the background – it just isn’t his style. He loves his job because it’s social, energising and there’s never a dull moment with new faces through the door every night. WH