This is Alana Nogueda, from Toronto, owner of Shameful Tiki bar.
Alana is 31 years old. She was born in Toronto with an identical twin. Their parents were musicians and moved to Las Vegas when they were still babies. Alana used to visit Toronto often when she was a kid and always loved it there. When she was 19, she left university and decided to try something new. She’s been living in Toronto since then.
Alana started to work in hospitality when she was 15 years old. If she started as a cook in a pizza joint back in Nevada, when she moved to Toronto she decided to try working in bars. Like many of us, she got her first bar gig by pretending to have bartending experience when she actually had none. The first cocktail she ever made was an Espresso Martini. It exploded everywhere and she was covered in it, but got the job anyway and fell in love with the trade.
Eventually, she managed to get a job at Brassaii, a busy venue in downtown Toronto where many talented bartenders worked. She was hired as a busser, but really set her mind on working the bar. She spent most of her time helping bartenders and polishing glassware next to the bar, all the while learning on her own until she could actually bartend there. It took a little while because it was very much a night club district and Alana didn’t exactly fit with the image of the bartender in a dress. Nevertheless, she managed to get the position she sought and that’s when she really started to learn about cocktails and to get involved in the cocktail world.
A few years later, she was bartending at Harbord Room when she met Rod Moore, owner of Shameful Tiki bar in Vancouver. Moore was looking for a business partner to open a new venue in Toronto. Alana didn’t know much about Tiki bars, but she sure knew that it could be a great opportunity. So she considered it. She went on a trip back home and visited Frankie’s Tiki Bar, which is a place that she used to go to and that has a similar aesthetic. She loved the escapism. Loved that kitsch. And realized that she actually loved the idea of a themed bar that is well executed. Toronto didn’t have that, so she came back, became business partner with Moore and opened the Shameful Tiki Room in Toronto when she was 26 years old.
Five years later, they are still going strong. Not only is their bar one of the top cocktail venues in the city, but they are in the making of opening a new venue called Port Light. Go give them a follow and stay tuned for more details. Since covid hit, she has also started a new project called Legal Tenders, a fried chicken pop up that uses the space of Shameful Tiki to help the business power through these difficult times. Once again, go give them a follow and if you are in Toronto, give it a try if you haven’t already. Overall, Alana is not only a successful business owner, but someone truly passionate about our industry that is very respected and involved in our cocktail community. We are super proud to showcase her and her many initiatives today and hope that you will check them out!
For Alana's cocktail recipe, it's this way!
A little bit more about Alana...
The three words that describe her best: awkward – caring – go-getter
Her favorite drink after a rough day: Something neat and a beer.
Life moto: Make sure you take care of yourself because without doing so you can’t take care of others!
The biggest lesson that her job taught her: Never forget where you started. At the end of the day, it’s your family you work with, remember that at some point you were there and treat them like you wished you were treated when you were there.
An advice to people that want to open their own bar: “More than ever it’s probably the riskiest business you could probably do, but I don’t think life is good without some kind of chances so it’s important to go for it when you feel it’s right and sometimes even though you don’t feel it’s right. Make sure that you know that you will always try to do better and make things work. Do it, try it.