And the Bar Manager of the Year Award Goes To….

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Caterer Middle East, Bar Manager of the Year Award, 2017! And the winner is…

In the competitive market of the Middle East, the Caterer Awards recognise the top end of the hospitality industry. The hard working people behind the venues we graze and quaff at.

“Caterer Middle East Awards has become the definitive awards program for F&B Industry professionals looking to be acknowledged by expert judges in front of their peers.” – Hotelier Middle East.

Middle East Bar Manager of the Year 2017. Dubai. UAE.
Winter heating @ Treehouse.

To receive the honoured prize of Bar Manager of the Year 2017 the entrant must be in the role for a minimum of 12 months and meet the following criteria.

  • The category is open to a manager of a bar – not a restaurant as well – in the Middle East. The entrant should provide personalised service to customers as well as monitoring and motivating bar staff.
  • The entrant should be aware of the entire outlet’s operation and progress, and if the bar is based in a restaurant, must demonstrate ways in which she/he has contributed to the shared success
  • The entrant knows her/his regular customers, has a rapport with them
  • Staff development should be on the top of their list
  • The entrant has to demonstrably improve operations during their time there through the development of new menus, sourcing new products, and keeping an eye on trends, as well as save cost

    Middle East Bar Manager of the Year 2017. Dubai. UAE.
    Spring cocktails @ Treehouse.

Now without further ado, please let me introduce you to the winner of 2017’s, Middle East Bar Manager of the Year, Marvin Coelho, Bar Manager at Treehouse, the stunning rooftop bar at Taj Dubai.

Middle East Bar Manager of the Year 2017. Dubai. UAE.
Marvin Coelho, winner of 2017’s The Caterer Middle East Bar Manager of the Year Award.

Congratulations Marvin, how does it feel?

I was shocked. It hasn’t sunk in until now, but it feels great. Honestly, it feels great that after all these years the hard work does pay off. I’m quite happy.

What’s your background, Marvin?

I’m from Bombay. I’ve been in the industry for 7 years and 5 of those in Dubai. I’ve been with Taj for a couple of years now and before that, I was with Jumeirah.

Why hospitality?

I was a very mischievous kid so the only thing I used to like was to travel and meet people. I’m very fond of meeting different nationalities and travelling around so this is one industry that gives me that.

Describe your day, or should I say night. Treehouse opens at 6 pm, right?

Yes, from 6 pm. My days are pretty normal. I come in and do back office admin, meet the guys, have a quick briefing, see how the evening is, review the bookings, what will everyone’s duties be, then just go with the flow for the evening.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

Being behind the bar. I love being behind the bar, that’s one of the reasons for turning to the bar industry as well. Now I get less time but whenever I get the opportunity I take it.

Share your inspiration, what inspires you?

One thing is travel. I’m very fond of it. I’m going again this year. A road trip through Romania, Serbia and Hungary. Peoplewise, my dad. He has been a big inspiration from the way he has started. He wasn’t very educated and stayed in his native place, but from there, he went abroad, did everything, got the 3 of us educated and he’s still there for us, you know, he’s always supporting us, so yeah, definitely my dad. 

What do you think gave you the edge to win the award?

We’ve focused a lot on waste management even down to how we use our leftover garnishes for house-made syrups. I was also referred to as a wolf pack leader in one of the recommendations by my team so maybe that gave me an edge. (laughs)

What do you do on your days off?

One day I just sleep! I just hang out in my room with a couple of colleagues or if these guys are off, my team, they come over, we hang out. One day we just go out, jump in some bar, see what’s happening, find out what the markets doing. It’s easier to go one by one as a guest to find out what you’re doing wrong and what someone is doing right so you get the idea. 

What is your “go-to” drink and why?

I always prefer “Old Fashioned”, a classic Old Fashioned. I don’t like a twist, I just like plain straight Old Fashioned. That’s the top one. Always. It’s the flavour, it’s just the whole way of making it, it’s pretty cool for me. It’s very elegant, you know, it has sweetness, it has the bitterness of the orange plus it is heavy because of the whisk(e)y, but it’s the flavour of the whisk(e)y because bourbon is smokey and all that balance is perfect. It’s a slow drink so you cannot drink 10. You can have 2 or 3 and it’s good, it puts you in a really good mood. You don’t need to have 10 whisk(e)y shots, you just have 3 Old Fashioneds and you’re good. It goes down very nicely. 

Ok, let’s get into something a little controversial. Martinis – shaken or stirred?

For me, stirred.


For me, it’s perfect because shaken gets it diluted. Stirred gives you the proper punch you need. 

Twist or Olives?


Gin or Vodka?


With the sad news of Roger Moore’s departure from our world this week, it begs the question, who is your favourite James Bond?

I think the last one. Daniel Craig. I think he connects with the younger crowd more. Maybe that’s why. He’s a bit cooler. He looks very elegant in his suit and speaks more to our generation. I wouldn’t know most of the previous ones. 😉

Marvin, thank you for your time and congratulations again! We’re all thrilled you’ve been recognised in your field and wish you every success in the future.

When a deserving, humble person is awarded Bar Manager of the Year and allows the first interview: it’s a thing we love….

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