How do you actually become a bartender? Of course, on the one hand, there are the restaurateurs who have not been able to get away from waiting tables as a part-time job and have gradually learned practical knowledge behind the bar. But where do you get professional know-how from precise, free pouring to the creation of professional bar menus, sensory training or modern techniques such as smoking, aging or sous vide? For this purpose theBarschule MünchenSince 2003, we have been offering a variety of courses for all levels - from the crash course for ambitious hobby bartenders to the state-recognized IHK bar master. For our bartender portrait #6 we visited Patrick Metzger at his workplace. He has been training bartenders at all levels at the bar school for 3 years and is also a bar manager, barista, nutritionist and much more.
Admittedly, from the outside you wouldn't expect the building in southern Bogenhausen to be where the bartenders of tomorrow will be trained. But the ground floor of the architecturally inconspicuous office complex houses the Munich Bar School, the first address for training professional specialists in the bar industry. Spread over numerous shelves, there are a total of over 3,000 different spirits that will make every bartender's heart beat faster and are just waiting to be transformed by Patrick's students into new drink creations or timeless cocktail classics. The bar school was founded by Anna and Matthias Knorr, both Guinness World Record holders, Mixology Award winners and (multiple) German champions in flair bartending.
THE DUKE Destillerie: Dear Patrick, thank you very much for allowing us to be with you at the bar school today. Please tell us what brought you here!
Patrick Metzger: I was born into gastronomy as the son of a restaurateur because my parents ran an inn. However, not just in one place, we often moved to a new property after 2-3 years. That means I spent my childhood in many places and yet in the classic way between the kitchen and the dining room. However, I also noticed early on that gastronomy is a real challenge and that you have to invest a lot of time. That's why the desire to follow in my parents' footsteps quickly became a thing of the past - I wanted to do something completely different.
As a teenager I discovered my love for music, played quite successfully in a band, started DJing on the side and also saw my future in music. So I trained as a sound engineer and started working in a record store.
I regularly organized club evenings and events and took on the initial programming for a club. In between, I attended a fitness trainer academy and briefly worked as a B-license lecturer for it. Shortly afterwards I took over the management of a club with an associated cocktail bar. I felt very comfortable in this cocktail bar and then stumbled across Charles Schumann's bar book, which completely fascinated me. I then started mixing and getting to grips with the matter.
And the restaurant has got you back!
Exactly, that was in 2012. I ended up at the bar school as a student and took various courses. And my first stop in Munich was Usagi. I helped design the opening here, designed the entire bar, designed the bar menu and was able to let off steam here relatively freely. At some point Matthias (editor's note: owner of the Barschule Munich) stood in Usagi and made me an offer that I couldn't refuse. (laughs)
What was your dream career as a child after you decided not to follow in Dad's gastronomic footsteps as a chef?
Once that was clear, I wanted to become a forester because I've always loved spending time in nature... and then as a teenager, a musician or rock star.
What do you enjoy most about your work at the bar school?
To give my students a passion for the profession and to follow how they develop beyond bar school.
What is your greatest success so far?
We were the opening act for the Fantastischen Vier at a concert - that is definitely one of my highlights so far.
What couldn't you do without in your life?
To music and a good bottle of Pinot Noir.
And why is THE DUKE Gin in your back bar?
Because it belongs there! For me it forms the basis of a German gin. The two guys have managed to establish their vision of a German gin into a major brand.
Is there a favorite drink that always works for you personally?
Negroni – in all its facets is always possible.
What would you get up very early in the morning for?
In the winter for snowboarding and in the summer for getting on a racing bike. (Editor's note: See next question)
What does a day off look like for you?
I prefer to be outside in nature, either on a snowboard in the mountains or clearing my head on a racing bike - this is the best place for me to switch off and recharge my batteries.
If you had one wish for the bar scene, what would it be?
Hands off the ice! Saw and pound your ice block, have fun, but please wear gloves. The hand simply has no place on the ice or on the top edge of the glass.
You've already experienced a lot at your different stations - please tell us your craziest gastronomy story!
Charles Schumann's visit to my bar - that's when I knew that I had arrived at the bar, that I 100% belonged where I was. I met him at a competition where he was on the jury. Afterwards we started talking and talked for a while. Yes, and one day he was standing in my bar and wanted to come visit me. After everything started for me with his book, it was one of my most beautiful gastronomic moments.
Finally, do you have a request for your students?
We were also curious to see what drinks a lecturer from the Munich Bar School would create with the spirits from THE DUKE distillery. Yes, we had high expectations, but what Patrick came up with here exceeded them many times over. The list of ingredients speaks for itself… or have you ever seen eggs marinated in truffle oil at a bar?
We learned a lot of new things during our visit and are a little jealous of our distiller Andi, who was able to attend the Basic Bartender professional course for two days – here you can read the blog about his experiences. If you enjoy mixing drinks yourself, we can only warmly recommend a course with Patrick.