SB meets… Michalis Sigounas and Carsten Stehr, JackieO’

10th December, 2019 by Melita Kiely

The holiday season may be over for another year, but the founders of renowned Mykonos beach club and bar JackieO’ are already dreaming of summer 2020 on the Greek island.

JackieO'-Beach-Club

L-r: JackieO’ founders Michalis Sigounas and Carsten Stehr

How did the two of you meet?

We met 15 years ago on a night out in Mykonos with friends. There was immediate chemistry and we haven’t looked back since that night. Four years ago, we were married at the JackieO’ Beach Club.

How did the idea for JackieO’ begin?

Originally, we were missing a great place to go out and enjoy cocktails and Champagne. The original idea for the bar was that it was going to be a Champagne bar. But the audience ended up needing something livelier, and the brand developed into what you see today and we couldn’t be happier with it.

Have you always worked in the hospitality industry?

We have both always been connected in some way to the hospitality industry. Michalis has his background in cinema, studying in Paris and working for many years out of Athens, as well as our beautiful neighbouring island Santorini. I was a painter and sculptor out of the Rhode Island School of Design. I [Carsten] spent 15 years leading VIP expeditions around the world by private yacht and jet, setting the standard of luxury hospitality. Together we found our complementing skills and interests…

How has JackieO’ changed over the years?

The JackieO’ brand hasn’t changed in recent years – other than when the plan changed originally from being a Champagne bar. JackieO’ was always going to be about mainstream, feel-good music and dancing. We are all about happiness and fun.

What makes JackieO’ stand out from other beach clubs and bars on the island?
It is hard to put your finger on one thing that makes JackieO’ different; instead our priority is to do everything we can to give our guests an unforgettable experience that they can remember when they go back home and for many years to come. What our patrons love about JackieO’ is that we offer a place for people to enjoy themselves and feel comfortable to be themselves – whatever that may be.

Who is JackieO’s audience?

For us, everybody is JackieO’s audience. Anyone who is nice to others is welcome at JackieO’, so our audience is very broad. We don’t value pretention or anyone thinking that they are better than others at JackieO’. I think that is part of the charm of JackieO’. Any night could see a local fisherman sitting next to an international fashion designer – and everything in between. What everyone has in common is an appreciation of good music and a great atmosphere. Everyone is having fun.

JackieO-Beach-Club-Mykonos

Where everyone is welcome: JackieO’ Beach Club

What is your favourite thing about Mykonos?

I think that it would have to be the energy from the neighbouring island of Delos that actually makes Mykonos such an exciting place. Delos is one of the most important mythological and archaeological sites in Greece and our closest neighbouring island.

You celebrated your 11th birthday this year with a lavish festival. How was this experience?
We were super excited about our birthday party – it was something that we had always looked forward to and were excited about; it was the first time we had celebrated our birthday in this way. It went amazingly – especially for us. We had an amazing time.

What was your favourite memory from the birthday celebrations?

It was an unforgettable experience from start to finish. If we had to pick a highlight, it would have to be the performance of Anna Vissi – one of Greece’s most famous and iconic performers. Anna’s voice is magical and she sang until 7.30am. We watched the sun rise over the sea while listening to an incredible performance, which was a really special moment.

Have you had many famous faces walk into your bar/beach club?

Yes – we have had many, many famous faces over the years visit both the JackieO’ Beach Club and the JackieO’ Bar. However, that is something that we like to keep private. This is part of what makes it so appealing to these sorts of guests and is also an important part of our ethos. As we said earlier, we don’t distinguish between celebrities and other visitors – we want to treat everyone the same and focus on creating a memorable experience for all of our guests.

We’re at the bar – what are you drinking?

Carsten: I would of course be drinking The JackieO’, one of our signature cocktails. It is made from Veuve Clicquot Rosé, Otto’s vermouth and apricot brandy. Delicious.
Michalis: I would be drinking a Maria Callas Champagne Cocktail made with Veuve Clicquot, Metaxa brandy, apricot brandy and caramel.

If you could have a drink with anyone at JackieO’, dead or alive, who would it be?
That’s a no brainer! Of course, it would have to be Jackie O’ herself.

Apart from JackieO’, which are your favourite bars to drink in on the island?

Honestly, JackieO’ is a home to us, so when we go out, we will always be there. We do enjoy having cocktails in the Little Venice area of Mykonos Town – reminding us of years gone by before we even had JackieO’.

Why should people come to Mykonos and visit JackieO’?

Both Mykonos and JackieO’ are unique places with an energy that affects everyone who comes here. For some people, Mykonos isn’t their cup of tea, but for those who enjoy a carefree atmosphere and a great time, then this is the place to visit. Anyone who wants to feel totally accepted for whoever they are should definitely come to JackieO’.

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