MEET ROMAN FOLTAN, EX-ARTESIAN BARTENDER NOW AT THE HELM OF SINGAPORE'S ATLAS
The highly anticipated ATLAS bar in Parkview Square, Singapore is now open, showcasing an impressive luxurious bar offering bespoke Art Deco inspired cocktails. The bar is helmed by Roman Foltan, previously of London’s Artesian at The Langham, winner of World’s Best Bar four consecutive times.
We chatted to Roman all about Artesian, ATLAS and the big move.
Drinks World: Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started in the industry?
Roman Foltan: I began my career in hospitality at 14 when I worked as a kitchen-hand in my home country of the Czech Republic. I studied at the Business Academy for Hospitality and Tourism before becoming a waiter at Samarkand restaurant, London, and Restaurant Steward with Nostalgic River cruises, Netherlands. At the age of 20, I joined Artesian at The Langham in London.
DW: What was it like working at Artesian, famously named World’s Best Bar four consecutive times?
RF: Working in a World’s Best Bar is an amazing feeling, especially since I was there for its first award. It is an exciting place, with great music, service and cocktails. I loved making guests happy and seeing them enjoy themselves.
DW: How exactly did you land that job?
RF: Alex Kratena knew my brother and he pushed me to send in my CV. It was a long process, including five interviews and it took six weeks. I got the role on my 20th birthday.
DW: What a great birthday present! So you wereY recently named by Forbes among the magazine’s 30 Most Talented People Under 30, tell us a little about that?
RF: It was quite spontaneous. Alex Kratena recommended me, and they came to visit me in London.
DW: You must have been surrounded by amazing talent throughout your career, who has been your biggest mentor?
RF: Alex and my brother, Kamil. In Singapore, it’s Zdenek Kastanek. I’ll proudly say that whatever I know is because of them and their support.
DW: You’ve now travelled across the globe to helm ATLAS, how did that come about?
RF: I had visited Singapore a couple of times before moving here. The bar scene in Singapore (and Asia in general) is growing and evolving, so it felt like a natural move for me. When I came to Singapore last year in March for Cocktail Week and saw Parkview Square, I fell in love with the space and knew I wanted to be part of ATLAS.
DW: Was it difficult making the decision to not only move bars, but also move countries again? RF: Not really. I needed a change after six years in London and wanted to experience living in a different part of the world.
DW: Is there a particular influence behind your cocktails, and are there any particular ingredients you’re excited to use at ATLAS?
RF: At ATLAS, the cocktails are elegant and European, with each celebrating a cultural hallmark that defined the Art Deco period, the golden age of drinking and early 20th century Europe: lots of colourful personalities, industrial achievements, and artistic masterpieces.
The selection of cocktails each fit into sections representing cultural hallmarks of the era between 1900-1939 and we researched the period extensively using iconic books such as Harry Craddock’s ‘The Savoy Cocktail Book’. I love working with our extensive collection of spirits, gin and Champagne.
DW: What’s your favourite spot to hang out back in London?
RF: Bar Termini, Quo Vadis and Aqua Shard.
DW: Finally, what’s your favourite go-to drink?
RF: A nice glass of bubbles or a Tommy’s Margarita.