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Adrian Chappell, General Manager

A portrait of Adrian Chappel, from Saskatoon.
Adrian Chappel

This is Adrian Chappell, from Saskatoon.

Adrian is 33 years old and was born and raised in Saskatoon, apart from a little bit of time she spent on Vancouver Island when she was younger. As soon as she turned 18, she went traveling and moved to the South of France for a year. Upon her return, she went straight to Vancouver where she lived for five years, and moved back to Saskatoon after.

Adrian has been working in the hospitality industry since she was fifteen years old. Before serving and bartending, she worked in coffee shops. When she moved to Vancouver, she was working as a barista and was planning to go to Emily Carr University. Until one day, the owner of the café had a family emergency, decided to put the business for sale and offered Adrian to buy it. And that’s how Adrian became a coffee shop owner at age twenty. She ran the business for two years until she sold it and decided to come back to Saskatoon for what was supposed to be a couple of months to visit her mother.

It was during that visit that she got her first serving job at a fine dining restaurant where one of her friends worked at. She fell in love with the trade and stayed in Saskatoon since. After that place closed, Adrian started working at SixTwelve Lounge at the Sheraton and that’s where she kind of naturally progressed towards the bar. A couple of years later, she was the Associate Manager and was helping run the bar program. She stayed at the Sheraton for five years and then moved on to open a new place as the General Manager. The new project was basically a concrete box, so she got to design the whole thing: space, the menus, the team, the manuals, etc. It was a very big project that definitely taught her a lot about how to design bars. When that came to an end, she started to work with the company she’s still with now. She started as the Bar Manager for The Hollows and Primal, the two restaurants of the company. After a year-and-a-half, she became the General Manager of both places. Since The Hollows closed, she focuses all of her time and energy on Primal and designs a great cocktail and spirits program, as well as a distinctive wine list that features a lot of natural wines.

Overall, during our meeting with her, she appeared as being exactly the type of people we would want to work with: efficient, fun, and passionate. To be frank, we only hoped we could’ve had more time to actually sit at her bar, get to know her better, and taste all the deliciousness that’s featured on her menus.

For Adrian cocktail recipe, click here.


A little bit more about Adrian...

The three words that describe her best: stubborn – opinionated – fun

What she likes most about bartending: Making people’s day better.

The biggest challenge she had to overcome professionally: Being a woman. When she got one of her first management jobs, she was first hired under them, then became their peer and eventually became their manager. She was told that she wasn’t the obvious choice because she was a woman even before she could start and prove herself. There are also many other opportunities that were passed up on her because she was a woman. Opportunities where they would have needed to pay for an extra hotel room so they would bring a guy that worked under her instead for example. Overall, if it sure was frustrating, down the line it only made her more determined. One of the reasons she likes the company she’s been working with for the past years is that it’s female-run and very diverse. Her opinion is valued and the boys that work for the company are taught to respect women and listen to them.

Something to do on her bucket list: One day she would like to open a bar or restaurant with her vision behind it. The ones that she’s been involved with, she’s been doing what somebody else wants. If they were to open another location with the company she works with right now, she would have her personal touch in it and would be highly involved. She would like to design and open a place that she’s passionate about, whether she owns or manages it.

A piece of advice for younger bartenders: Don’t take bartending classes. If I see a bartending class on your resume and no experience, I won’t hire you. It’s a waste of money. Start at the bottom, maybe even at a chain because they will teach you the basics, and from there you can work your way up. That’s a better way to gain experience than paying for a course.

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