Artesian’s Lorenza Pezzetta on her comeback
Lorenza Pezzetta had walked away from the hospitality industry, but was lured back to be bar manager at The Artesian at The Langham hotel. She explains why she is happy to return to the fold.
By Alice Brooker
*This feature was originally published in the January 2022 issue of The Spirits Business magazine.
“Some people ask why I’m a bar manager when I’m not a bartender,” Lorenza Pezzetta says when I ask what surprises people about her job. Pezzetta has been in the industry for almost 20 years, having initially travelled to London from her home country of Italy in 2002 with the intention of staying for a summer.
“I was very lucky because I joined one of the most successful hotel brands in London – Maybourne Hotel Group – in 2002, and I spent four years with them,” she notes.
Pezzetta is no stranger to hotel bars, having held roles at The Blue Bar, at Maybourne-owned hotel The Berkeley, before becoming assistant bar manager at The Connaught Bar in Mayfair, where she stayed until 2015.
“After Covid-19 happened, I stepped back from the bar industry. But then I was approached for the bar manager position for Artesian,” she says.
“Initially I said no because I had stepped back, and at the Artesian, they are all top bartenders. I am not a bartender.
“Then I had a few chats with them and just fell in love with the job description – with the company, with their vision.”
Yet it was only recently that Pezzetta felt a jolt of realisation about why she returned to the industry after leaving it.
“I had a wake-up call during the 50 Best Bars celebration in December. It was so beautiful to celebrate. Emotions and energy were running so high,” she explains.
The World’s 50 Best Bars awards is a prestigious annual list that celebrates the international drinks industry. Artesian at The Langham was awarded the top spot four years in a row, from 2012 to 2015.
“The people I met after so many years… it was like ‘this is why I’m back. Let’s do it’,” she adds.
After landing the position of bar manager in July 2021, Pezzetta threw herself into the role with a new approach. With her experience in a combination of acclaimed bars, hotels and private members clubs such as Annabel’s and George Club, her aim was to bring the five-star experience of these venues “with a twist” – that twist being her personality.
“I am not the classic bartender – I am very much a floor personality. As soon as I wear my high heels, my black suit – it’s like I am on stage. It’s like I’m like the director of a theatre, leading a beautiful team behind to make it happen,” Pezzetta says.
“I need to focus on the team, and know everyone in the team by name. I am the link between everyone, and am responsible for everything.”
A powerful woman
Pezzetta’s team is also led by head bartender Giulia Cuccurullo, who was promoted to the role in June 2021.
“Giulia is a very powerful woman in hospitality. We’re both Italian so as you can imagine the emotions run high. But that’s our strength too, we keep it real,” she enthuses.
“At the 50 Best Bars ceremony, I understood we could do so much together. Just from the reaction of the bar industry, I saw we will make something special.
“We have such different personalities, we complement each other very well. Her creativity, plus my classic side… we can make the wow factor.”
Cuccurullo was responsible for crafting the cocktail Treat Yourself 2.0 for Artesian’s new menu, Connections, which happens to be Pezzetta’s favourite drink served by the bar.
“It’s presented in a beautiful crystal glass, and is Champagne-based with vodka – I simply love it. It’s one of the most popular cocktails at the moment, everyone is in love with Treat Yourself 2.0,” she notes.
The current cocktail menu is a list of drinks inspired by the shared experiences that brought people together during lockdown in 2020.
Pezzetta and Cuccurullo are focusing on creating a new menu – the details of which the bar manager is “not able to share” at the moment.
But it is likely to be more centred around more classic serves, she reveals.
“I love the strong concept behind a menu like Connections, but the drinks at the moment are very complex. Moving forward, I prefer a classic and clean cocktail. I think we will continue with a strong concept, but in the future, with my personality, we will adapt the drinks to contain more simple ingredients.
“I need to know what I’m drinking, and keep it classic,” Pezzetta explains.
This year, Artesian did not feature at the 50 Best Bars ceremony as a contender, despite its previous success with the awards.
Pezzetta is keen to work towards the bar’s inclusion next year, with an aim to spend 2022 developing concept and identity of Artesian, and with the team working hard.
“We have an amazing team behind us,” she says. “They inspire me everyday. The team is quite young – I love their personalities, and I loved the fact that we are not part of the 50 Best. Even though we weren’t competing, we didn’t step back. We decided to deliver – with great marketing and hard work – and I think we’re ready to go back to 50 Best Bars.”
With her extensive experience in a range of hospitality venues, Pezzetta has had time to consider what isn’t talked about enough in the bar industry.
“I love that they’re talking about more females being in the industry; however, we need to be more real. We talk about women a lot, and their mental health, but we forget about male mental health,” she points out.
“What about the men? Trying to be super strong… they need our support just as much; it shouldn’t just be one way. I’m a woman, I love to be respected as a woman, but I want to get to know the real men behind the façades – their emotions.
“I’m working with all these young people, they work so many hours, and the support they’re giving me is outstanding.”