|THE PROOF is a weekly roundup showcasing local creatives. A column for creatives to share their story and work, in a unique, concise format: each creative shows 8 pictures and answers 8 questions. Past participants include Bob Kronbauer, Omer Arbel, Carson Ting, Lizzy Karp, Branislav Henselmann, Hannah Georgas, Douglas Haddow - all living in Vancouver.|
Born and raised in Vancouver, Shaun Layton has been one of the leading personalities in the Vancouver and Canadian bar scene for years. He was received many awards and accolades, including Vancouver Magazine Bartender of the Year, and Western Living Bartender of the year. He’s travelled and competed all over the US and Europe, and as a bar consultant has designed menus and inspired bartenders all over the country. Shaun is the Bar Manager at L’Abattoir in Gastown, and has his own consulting business where he does everything from menu design, staff training, public seminars, and cocktail photography.
1. My Bookcase – It also is a locker for important docs, and houses some of my old bar toys. I don’t just have cocktail books, I like reading all types of stuff.
2. The view from my Home office. Why I love the West End, it is pretty unbeatable in the late summer/early fall.
3. My A.M. jog – I like to go for a morning run 4-5 days a week. In this industry, you need to keep healthy or it’ll get the best of you. I like to get up nice and early, go for a jog, read the news, and waste some time on twitter every morning. Also, a healthy breakfast (usually avocado on a bagel with arugula) is essential.
4. My lovely girlfriend Julia and I, we both love travelling. This trip was a relaxing little one to Bowen Island.
5. My shoes/wardrobe – I have way too many pairs of shoes! The same can be said for clothes, we wear what we would wear on the street to work, so I’m constantly updating my closet. It’s hard to one up anyone, I think we have the most fashionable staff in the city at L’Abattoir haha
6. My test kitchen/bar – I do all my consulting work from home. I don’t drink much at home, if I do its wine or beer. I do have 200 plus bottles though, so when I do work at home its quite advantageous to be a taste tester. If you think I have lots of antique glasses at L’Abattoir, you should see my full home collection.
7. My Living room – Where sunday afternoons are usually spent. I’m a huge NFL fan (Seahawks and Raiders) , sunday is my day to relax after a long week. Its the day to watch football, than go out for dinner, or bbq at home.
8. The view from Signal Hill, NFLD – Had a “moment” here, after a long hike up Signal Hill. It is pretty much as far east as you can go in North America. Had a day off while there on a bar consulting job I’m doing there, and the clouds cleared, making it a great day for a hike. Looking forward to going back in the winter/spring, apparently icebergs float right by in the Spring.
1. What neighborhood do you live in?
I live in the West End. I love it here, it feels like a real neighbourhood, and I can walk to work everyday. I have the advantage of being right downtown, and feeling like I live in a “neighbourhood” , not many cars, parks, birds, small shops, etc.
2. What do you do and where?
I’m in the bar industry. I am the Bar Manager at L’Abattoir in Gastown, and I also do bar training, design, and consulting.
3. What are you working on?
I’m currently consulting on a project (in my spare time) in St. John’s, Newfoundland. It’s a 400 seat restaurant right on the harbour opening very soon. I’ve designed the whole bar program and will be heading back out to train the staff soon.
4. Where can we find your work?
I’m on the bar a L’Abattoir most nights, I’ve also consulted for bars around the city like The Distillery Bar, Espana, Miku, Minami, to name a few.
5. Who are your role models?
I think Murray Stenson, a friend/fellow barman from Seattle. He’s been doing this for decades and still is one of the most personable, professional, and proud barman you will meet. He’s not making his own bitters or vermouth, etc, he’s just a really great bartender who takes care of his guests in a way that a lot of other bartenders these days tend to forget.
6. What keeps you going in this industry?
My customers!, wouldn’t be here without them! Also, working with a team like we have at L’Abattoir. Having Paul Grunberg and Lee Cooper as owners, guys who are always there doing whatever needs to be done. I think we nail it in every category, so there is never a dull moment. Also, doing consulting projects lets me teach some of the younger kids here and across the country and get them excited about the trade.
7. If you had a chance to start your career all over again, how would you do it differently?
I think I would have went and worked in the UK or cities like SF or NY for a year or two. You need to travel to keep yourself inspired and motivated in this industry. Ive been fortunate to travel with different companies all over the place and explore other cities, but working in one for a little bit would have been very enlightening.
8. What advice do you wish someone would have given you when you were young?
Don’t take that bartending course, lol. Im sure they may be better ones out there now…. My advice to young barterers is go work for one of the chains first, even just for a few months. Learn the basics, see if you like the industry, then go work for someone who can train you from the ground up. Don’t go work somewhere just because they are giving you a good position, if there is no one to teach you, than you are wasting you’re time.
If you were going to recommend a creative to VIA, who would it be?
James Iranizad, Simon Kaulbach, Sean Orr