Nick Thomas

The pandemic spelt the end for Liverpool's Santa Chupitos, but in its place comes Manolo. Hamish Smith speaks to Nick Thomas about Graffiti Group's new bar. 

So Nick, you been charged with the revival of Graffiti Group’s Santa Chupitos site on Slater Street. What’s the plan?

We want to create an entirely new space and atmosphere. The bar will be serving a mix of classic cocktails, modern drinks and bar snacks, but the main focus will be our guests. We want to give a level of service and standard of drink you can’t get in the city. It’s called Manolo.

Has Manolo been a long time in the making?

I have been working diligently behind the scenes for years now on some of the ideas and concepts that I want to bring into Manolo. From our lab-based projects and re-designed classic drinks, to what I believe makes a truly unique guest experience. I have, like many other operators, spent much of the past year recovering from the effects of the pandemic and I can’t wait to finally put our new ideas into practice.

What can guests get at Manolo that they can’t at your other concepts?

My other venues are all high volume, good-time bars, where we want guests to let loose, but that often means we can’t give them that one on one experience we love. At Manolo, we want to focus on each and every guest, understand their needs and create an experience that mirrors that. Hospitality is all about people. Guests should leave your venue feeling better then they did before the came in.

So if it's all about good hospitality, what bars were the inspiration?

I have been travelling to bars across the UK and the world for over 20 years now and the thing that inspires me most is great service. Whether it’s a dive bar, hotel bar or cocktail gaff, I love feeling valued by staff in their establishment. Some of my favourites would have to be Connaught Bar in London, Boadas in Barcelona, Anvil in Houston, Employees Only New York, and most recently Schofield’s Bar in Manchester. But inspiration can come from anywhere really, it’s all about those little moments, and the people you share them with.