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Handshake Speakeasy co-owner to open Shakerato

Eric van Beek, the co-owner of Mexico City’s Handshake Speakeasy, is launching a bar in Amsterdam called Shakerato.

Van Beek co-owns Handshake Speakeasy, which was recently named North America’s best bar

Handshake Speakeasy was recently named the number-one venue in the 50 Best Bars North America list.

Shakerato is slated to open in August and will be located near Leidseplein, which van Beek said is “right off the ‘going out’ square” of Amsterdam. Van Beek hails from the city and said on Instagram that he is “proud to finally open something in the place where I was born and raised”.

Speaking to The Spirits Business about what to expect from the new bar, van Beek said the venue will be an all-day concept, opening from 8am to serve coffee, tea and brunch when it has enough staff. Alcohol will be served from 12pm, with “drinks based on aperitivo culture, or tea and coffee cocktails”.

The bar will close from 4pm to 6pm, when it will reopen with “more of a Latin, sit-down type of vibe – cocktail-y and a little bit more fun. It’ll be very laidback in the afternoon and a little more ‘cocktail’ late at night.”

While the venue is in the construction phase, van Beek described the interior design style he has in mind as art deco, but not how one would normally picture it.

He explained: “Normally art deco is black and gold but, as Shakerato is a day place as well, we chose white and gold with a lot of wood colours.

“I would say it’s a very Italian vibe mixed with art deco. We have two levels but we will do service only in one space. The bar will be open, like an izakaya table, and it will be the first thing you see when you walk in. It will have the same philosophy as Handshake, just in a different part of the world.”

While drinks in the afternoon will be made in an aperitivo style and with a lower ABV, the programme at night will be more free-ranging, divided and Latin. The Salt and Pepper Paloma from Handshake will feature, as will a few other favourites from Mexico City – but van Beek says he doesn’t want to copy and paste what he does in Mexico in Amsterdam.

He said: “Some of the drinks [from Handshake], especially for the first menu, we will put on there, just to ensure we have a clean start and we’re experienced with those drinks – and of course, people like them. It makes it easier for us.”

Dario Zeilmaker, Handshake’s general manager, will be involved in the new venture and is already in Amsterdam. Otherwise, the team in Amsterdam will be a new one.

Van Beek will be at Shakerato for the first eight weeks and then travel back and forth between the two venues.

“Obviously it’s not a speakeasy, but as far as vibe goes, it will be focused very much on quality of drink and quality of service,” he added. “That was lacking a bit in Amsterdam. There are a lot of great bars, but it’s very hard to keep staff – especially in this day and age. So we’re focusing on that.”

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