Sitting down with winner of the Best Venue Manager Award, Kostas Bardas, Bar & Beverage Manager at St James Bar, Sofitel London, where he reveals more about his career so far, detailing the key attributes to his big win at the Bar Magazine Awards!

Please tell our readers about your career in the industry so far, and the role you find yourself in today.

In my 16 years within the hospitality industry, I have embraced various roles, gaining invaluable experiences throughout my career. Currently, I’m the Bar & Beverage Manager at St James Bar in Sofitel London St James. This role has been a great learning experience, collaborating with many top-notch professionals. Currently, I manage a team of seven incredibly talented and motivated people, all sharing the same goal – to provide a unique experience to every single guest that walks into our beautiful bar, while enjoying super tasty drinks and food in a comfortable environment.

What has been your greatest career accomplishment to date?

Leading St James Bar is my standout achievement. It has required substantial effort, resulting in a vibrant culture and a solid team. A defining milestone in my career.

What has been an important lesson you have learnt within your time in the industry?

The industry has shown me how to create memorable experiences for our guests and stay ahead of trends. This has shaped my daily approach, while stressing the importance of a strong and passionate team. It’s not about just following the latest trends, but also about adapting and working together to overcome challenges.

Why do you believe you won the Best Venue Manager Award?

Earning the Best Venue Manager Award is evidence of our shared dedication, reflected in exceptional results and collaborative efforts with other bars and brands. It mirrors the commitment, passion and dedication of the entire St James Bar team.

Is there anyone you like to express your gratitude towards for your success? If so, who, and why?

I’m sincerely grateful to my wife and the Sofitel team for their unwavering support. Their important contributions have played a pivotal role in my journey and ultimate success. I strongly believe that my past experiences, the influence from all the people that I have encountered and worked alongside within my career, have made the manager and the person that I am today – a generous, honest, innovative, creative and authentic individual who continues to seek opportunities to become better for his team and company.

What advice would you give to someone interested in entering the 2025 Bar Magazine Awards?

For those eyeing up the 2025 Bar Magazine Awards, seize this opportunity for genuine evaluation. Stay true to your passion, push boundaries and see challenges as steps toward growth. Embrace the awards and get involved for continuous learning and career advancement.

Please share any words of wisdom for aspiring ‘Best Venue Managers’.

Always do your best, aim for excellence and keep working towards your dreams. Base your actions on core values like dedication, genuine passion and a steadfast commitment to improving your skills. Keep it real, stay true to yourself and focus on what genuinely matters in your journey.