Meet the Mavericks
June 29, 2016
MAVERICK: ISAAC VINER
Bar Manager at Weslodge Saloon Dubai, 27
Inspired by the same entrepreneurial spirit that drove Glenfiddich to create the world’s most-awarded single malt whisky, we sought out four maverick men from four very different backgrounds who in their everyday lives trade risk for reward as they look to shape their own futures. Isaac Viner is one of those mavericks.
The UAE’s restaurant and nightlife scene has exploded into the world’s conscious over the past five years, which is by-and-large in part to mavericks like Isaac. As bar manager of Weslodge Saloon the challenge is always to come up with creative and new ways to buck trends and justify the public’s - and the world’s - attention. If the old adage "creativity is intelligence having fun" rings true, then you really need to be visiting Viner’s bar.
ESQ: What makes you a maverick?
Isaac Viner: To me, a maverick is someone who constantly finds a way to better his craft. In my line of hospitality, people think that it’s all about mixology, but the truth is that the real skill is creating a fun and comfortable environment for people to forget the stress in their lives. I see it as my job to make sure every single one of my customers leaves the bar with a smile on their face. And what’s more, in my line of work, you have to do it consistently, every day.
What do you remind yourself to do every day?
Before I go to work I tell myself to not come back home until I’ve learned something new.
In your professional life, what has been your biggest challenge?
My industry forces you to constantly pick up your life and move it to somewhere new. Rebuilding your life and contacts somewhere new is not easy, but developing the right mindset, working hard and keeping motivated towards your goals is what has led me to every fantastic opportunity I’ve had, from rebranding bars to running them. Not bad for a tattooed kid from Ottawa.
What makes you stand out from others?
I don’t believe that standing out is as important as being a genuine and honest person. I would never compromise on who I am for perceived success. Knowing who you are, learning and building on that is what will take you furthest in life.
What’s one piece of advice that you carry with you in life?
My father always told me to work smart, not hard.