This is Anne-Marie BL, from Halifax.
Anne-Marie is 29 years old. She was born in Montreal, grew up in Joliette and moved to Nova-Scotia when she was 8 years old. She has lived in Darmouth ever since. Anne-Marie speaks English and French, and is the proud mother of a dog called Willow.
Anne-Marie started to work in the hospitality industry as a server at Swiss Chalet, where she worked for 2 years. If it wasn’t necessarily a great work environment, it sure gave her very strong foundations of service. Who knew that a few years later, when she would be interviewed for her first position in a cocktail venue, she would be laughing at crazy chicken people with the owner and was hired. This was at Middle Spoon in 2013. And this was when Anne-Marie got into cocktails.
She was first mentored by Jenner Cormier, who was one of the first people to really bring Halifax’s cocktail scene to another level. About a year later, Jenner moved to Toronto and Anne-Marie took his responsibilities. Least to say that these were big shoes to fill in. Nevertheless, Anne-Marie was determined to take them on and to keep the quality levels going. She worked her way through and stayed at Middle Spoon for 6 years. Today, Anne-Marie works at Dear Friend, a fantastic cocktail bar in Darmouth, where she bartends alongside a truly great and very talented team.
If Anne-Marie is a very knowledgeable and reputable bartender, one thing that struck us when we interviewed her is how profoundly team oriented and community focused she is. She is one of the very few that are not afraid to point out the problematic aspects of our industry and that works hard to put everything in place so that we, as a community, can have the more difficult conversations. On a personal level, she is trained in trauma-response and makes herself available for people that are struggling to reach out to her.
Overall, Anne-Marie appears to be not only excellent at what she does, but also a pivotal member of our community. We think that we are very lucky to have her and that the work she does is more than needed in our industry.
A little bit more about Anne-Marie...
The three words that describe her best: determined – chatty – detail-oriented
Life motto: The meaning of life could be to live in the moment.
The most magical place she has ever been to: Burgeo in Newfoundland. On the South shore of the island, there is this provincial park called Sandbanks, with very long powder white sand and clear blue water beaches forever. She took a little boat with her partner and her dog and they spent an afternoon exploring the pristine beaches and being alone in what appeared to be a little gem hidden from the rest of the world.
What she loves most about bartending: That it’s something new every day. Of course, there are similar parts, like you will always need lemon juice, but you never know who’s gonna walk in or the conversations you’re gonna have that day.
An advice she offers younger bartenders: Try your best to stand up for integrity and respect. There are too many times where you are new and green and that you think you have to do certain things to obtain respect and go up the ladder in our industry. And actually, you don’t have to. You know, when people say “that’s normal in our industry”, well, actually it’s not. There are options and there are people you can talk to, you don’t have to be trapped in a shitty environment. You can stand up for integrity and respect.