Joe McBeth Rub's talented Mixoligist and Area Bar Manager writes about his experiences since joining Rub.
It was a Sunny November afternoon and I found myself wandering the streets of the Lace Market. I was feeling a little bit jaded, and hadn’t quite clicked onto the fact that deep down I wanted a fresh start somewhere, when out of the corner of my eye I spotted a bright red logo, a picture of a giant pig and the words “Rub Smokehouse & Bar”. I love the American deep south, New Orleans, Kentucky, Bourbon, Cajun, Creole, Country music, smoked meats and deep fried heart attack inducing tasty goodness. So I felt compelled to rush home, shoot over my CV and get started on cooking up ideas for how I saw the bar fitting into Rub as a brand.
I heard back that same afternoon. The next day I got my first glance at the bar. It was a couple of wooden planks. That was it. No word of a lie. And for a moment, I thought to myself “oh god what am I getting myself into?”. But the moment passed and I could see the potential. And after weeks of hard work and graft we had a busy restaurant and bar in full swing with some great staff members. I’ve worked in bars for nearly a decade and I’ve managed a few drastically different venues. But Rub is the first place i’ve been truly proud of. We’ve created a drinks menu to rival our food options with a wide range of American beers & ciders, fantastic bourbons, quality American gins and an All-American, All-Original cocktail menu.
I’m really proud of our cocktails. A lot of cocktail bars have embraced the age of the hipster with “stirred down & brown” drinks, dim lights and an air of arrogance. Now I’m not saying all bars are like that or that all those qualities are necessarily a bad thing. But I miss the days when cocktails were fun. Big, in your face, unashamedly flamboyant and delicious. I love a top shelf bourbon neat, it’s something I savour, but honestly if I’m on a night out I would much rather order a extra-rummy Pina Colada or Banana Daiquiri. It’s slightly embarrassing, but who cares? Cocktails should be fun. And that’s what we’ve embraced at Rub. We try to bring an American twist to everything, but more than anything we want to serve ‘Guilty Pleasures’. When you’re at Rub, let loose, eat whatever you want, drink whatever you want, dance, sing, whatever floats your boat. We’re a Smokehouse on the surface, but we’re a Party bar at heart.
I’m grateful to manage a team of bartenders that I truly believe are some of the best in the midlands. They love what they do and will do whatever they can to make sure your visit is a memorable one. So even if you’re not hungry, feel free to stop by just for a drink. You won’t regret it.
Rub wasn’t built in a day. It took months of hard work, training and adapting. We’re not everyone’s cup of tea, we’re a bit too loud, we’re a bit too cheesy, but if you come and see us with that in mind, you’re going to have fun. When I walked into a wooden skeleton of a bar I doubted if it was do-able, I doubted if I could have fun doing it. I haven’t had those thoughts in 200 days and counting.
by Joe Macbeth
Area Bar Manager
Rub Smokehouse & Bar