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Pull up a chair with… Toby Marshall

After helping craft the impressive drinks menus at both Palmer & Co. and The Paddington, bartender Toby Marshall is setting his sights on Charlie Parker’s – an intimate and honest bar on Oxford St set to become your new local. 

What’s your favourite spirit to work with?

Every spirit is so unique, and I do enjoy working with all of them. However, I’m really enjoying working with varieties of sherry at the moment. They create a very unique flavour profile.

What’s a must-have in your home bar?

I’ll always have what’s needed for a Negroni when cooking dinner for friends; I’ll often pre make a batch and sit it in the fridge ready to go. It’s a welcoming drink and a loyal cooking partner before getting into some wine over dinner.

I do one part Plymouth Gin, one part Campari, and one Sweet Vermouth. Serve over ice with orange zest or an orange wedge.

What’s an underrated drink that deserves to be ordered more?

The Last Word – gin, lime juice, green Chartreuse, and maraschino liqueur – is a real party starter if made right.

Talk us through what goes into creating a cocktail menu…

Sometimes drinks come together very quickly, while others take longer to perfect.

The guest and what they want to experience is at the forefront of my mind, but I get inspired by all sorts of things – my peers, my family; seasonal cooking and produce, to skateboarders, musicians, visual  artists. It’s strange I know, but sometimes it’s good to be reminded that there are no creative boundaries.

What cocktail trends do you anticipate popping up over the next 12 months?

I see a greater understanding from bartenders around preparation, cooking techniques and other influences from chefs. I also think we’ll start to understand and incorporate the seasonal sway of the year and make many more items fresh or in-house.

What do you think makes for an amazing bar experience?

A genuine and authentic experience is really important to me. Dive bar, cocktail bar, pub, restaurant bar, it doesn’t matter. Knowing you are in someone’s venue who cares about their guests and the product they provide makes for a great experience.

Is there anything a venue does that really irks you?

Avoiding eye contact and failing to give a guest recognition is a big one.

What seat is the best in the house do you think?

Pulling up a stool at the bar is always the best. You’re close to the bartender, it’s easy to get a drink, and you can ask questions you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Shoulder to shoulder with friends, you’re close to the action too!

If you could bar-hop over the world (minus the jetlag!) what three venues would you visit?

The American Bar in The Savoy, London for the token bartender pilgrimage; La Capilla in Tequila, Mexico to visit Don Javier Delgado; and Dobson Distillery at Eastview Estate in NSW, to have a drink with distiller Stephan Dobson. The list goes on… and on! 

What can we expect from Charlie Parker’s?

We’re going to have an ever-evolving and creative drinks offering that will work perfectly with share food by Danielle Alverez, Head Chef at next door’s Fred’s. We’ll showcase a hand selected spirit collection that will showcase some interesting producers from home and around the world, and we’ll be constantly forward thinking and creative and offer a genuine environment in which to enjoy quality food and beverages. 

Charlie Parker's is set to open soon. In the meantime, you can sample Toby's work at The Paddington