How (not) to be a good host

03 November 2022

How not to
You don’t make it through a long winter without being a good host. Alex Skarlen knows better than most. The co-owner and manager of Lucy’s Flower Shop, voted Sweden’s best cocktail bar 2022, is passionate about making his clientele feel welcome.
Don’t make someone’s night worse

If you can tell a person might be a little bit intoxicated, will you make their night worse by giving them a last word or an old fashioned or something super stiff? Maybe. So maybe then we'll try to fit a drink that will suit this person.

Be nice, even to douchebags

I think the most important thing when it comes to hosting is obviously to be nice. That's the thing, if you’re nice the possibility is the person you're talking to will probably meet you in a nice way. Obviously, there are always douchebags, but still, if they are a douchebag, and you treat them a little bit nice, they might be less of a douchebag.

Share knowledge, not shitloads of information

I try to share an amount of knowledge, and experience. You know that feeling when you go into place and someone just floods you with shitloads of information that you are not open for, then you get a negative response? Sometimes you really hit the sweet spot, and you're right. But at the same time, sometimes after a couple of sentences you think, "Oh, shit, abort abort abort."

That's something we are working on. Obviously you want to tell people about your drinks, about when you were standing in that street corner in Paris and you just got that brilliant idea. But then you have to pace yourself because not all of our guests want that. 

Read body language

This is one of the hardest things because we're not psychic, we're people. Obviously eye contact [is important]. Obviously some people are not super keen on eye contact, some people are. But you can tell when someone is interested, they face you and they have a tendency to lean in towards you a little bit extra.

If it's a really loud venue, then they would try to hear what you're saying. But, in this case you can read that. On the other hand, if a guy or a girl just turns their head and gives you a little nod or a little smile, whatever, maybe that's the cue for not telling the story about Paris

The venue makes the mood

Different hospitality venues look at the bigger picture in a different way. In bars, you're always looking at the smaller picture like looking at the people, etc. When it's bigger functions, they're more focused on lighting, audio, and ambience. The ambiance in the bar is something we follow closely, with sound and lighting. I think bigger functions put more money into it and also more planning into that, but if a big function has really bad lighting or sound then it's not going to work

Slow down!

Take that little extra time. When I was younger I was rushing. I was talking faster. I didn't really take that little extra time to look someone in the eyes and say, "Oh, hi." It was more like, "Hi, sorry." And I think that's something you do when you're new. When you mature, or get more secure in your hosting position, you know that just by slowing down a couple of seconds you can make so many more seconds, and you don't make that extra mistake.

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Lucy's Flower Shop

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