10 QUESTIONS WITH WALTER PINTUS, HEAD BAR OPS MANAGER AT THE CONDUIT
This week, we caught up with Walter Pintus, Head Bar Operations Manager at The Conduit, the Mayfair member’s club described as ‘a home for a diverse community of people passionate about driving social change’. From a hospitality career that began working for his family business in Sardinia through to positions at some of London’s finest bars, Walter is widely regarded as one of the capital’s most respected bartenders and mixologists.
Walter has worked at many world-renowned bars including the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este on Lake Como, The Sheraton, Waeska Bar at The Mandrake, and the Rivoli Bar at The Ritz. At the Ritz, Walter spent three years entertaining global A listers and collecting a string of awards, including Best UK Bartender 2013. His cocktail recipes were showcased in everything from Vogue to GQ and The Cocktail Lovers.
In March 2015, Walter was appointed head mixologist at the world-famous Connaught Bar, where he was the recipient of such accolades as GQ’s Bar of the Year 2015, World's Best Bar and Best International Hotel Bar at Tales of the Cocktail's 2016 Spirited Awards, to be followed by Best European Bar 2016 at the Mixology Bar Awards in Berlin, Best Bar 2016 at Time Out London Bar Awards and a top five placing in The World's 50 Best Bars. 2016 also saw Walter become Global Ambassador for Beluga vodka.
In less than one year at Waeska Bar at The Mandrake, Walter had gained appraisals of top press and industry personalities - including GQ, Condé Nast Traveller, The Spirits Business, Imbibe - with the bar often referred to as "best new bar opening in London" and also being shortlisted among the top ten venues for the New International Cocktail Bar accolade at the 2018's Spirited Awards.
1.) Welcome to The Mayfair Musings! How long have you been in this industry for?
I have been working in the hospitality industry for the past sixteen years.
2.) What brought you to The Conduit?
I was intrigued by the project and the opportunity to be part of something very special and unique in the hospitality industry – a private members’ club focused on building a diverse community passionate about driving social change.
3.) The Conduit are known for innovative, sustainable menus and world-class cocktails. Is there anything exciting on the drink’s menu for 2019?
We have a diverse drinks offering with a different menu on each floor. However, the most exciting element across all menus is the opportunity to work closely with our local food partners. Our drinks programme is based on the constant development of new seasonal recipes and a commitment to sustainability.
For example, our ‘Green Genie’ cocktail in our newly launched ‘Perspective’ menu uses two seasonal summer ingredients – sugar snap peas and basil.
4.) Gin has been massively popular for the past couple of years. Do you think any other spirits will be noticeably popular in 2019?
I think Gin will continue to be a popular choice for the next few years. Spirits like Tequila and Mezcal are having a huge come back in the market but I don’t see a take-over of gin for the next few years.
5.) Summer is finally upon us! Which cocktails will you be recommending in celebration?
Anything that involves fresh fruit with sharp, zesty elements. A Great Daiquiri is the perfect example! Also, we have just launched our “Perspective” menu on The Conduit’s roof top terrace. This is a Tiki inspired menu incorporating sustainable practices, which gives a local twist on tropical classics for unexpected flavours that will surprise and transport you! Our ‘Paradise tea’ cocktail includes a delicious milk punch made from leftover milk from our barristers, which is clarified and then infused with jasmine and leftover lemon, lime and grapefruit wedges.
6.) Is there anything nice on the menu for non-drinkers?
We treat every drink with respect, putting the same effort into developing an alcoholic or non-alcoholic recipe. You can find some great non-alcoholic options at The Conduit which are just as complex and exciting for the palate, including in our newly launched Perspective menu.
7.) What is the wine selection like at The Conduit?
Our Sommeliers are working with biodynamic, organic and natural wines but most importantly, they are focused on innovative winemakers who incorporate sustainable practices in their production process - from the vineyards to the bottling.
8.) What makes The Conduit a wonderful place to be?
The Conduit is a relaxed space where you can engage with dynamic, interesting people, and share ideas and visions around positive social change, all within the surroundings of beautiful, sustainably sourced interiors and a world class hospitality service championing seasonal ingredients and practices.
9.) On a well-deserved day off, what’s your tipple of choice?
I can’t be away from a well-executed Negroni.
10.) When you’re not busy working, where can you be found in London?
I love discovering new places to eat and drink.
Walter and the team can be found at 40, Conduit Street, London W1S 2YQ. For more information about The Conduit, including membership options, please click here.