Sebouh Tato is one of the most recognisable names in the region’s bar industry. Awarded a scholarship in beverage management from the University of Lausanne, Tato has had an illustrious career, which has seen him create signature cocktails at multiple venues throughout the Middle East. During his 17-year career at Addmind, he has successfully trained over 500 bartenders and bar-backs. He has also travelled the world meeting and collaborating with legends of the industry.
His journey started with Addmind in 2006 when he began working at White in Lebanon. Over the next decade Tato has become an essential player supporting Addmind’s new concepts. His work led him from Lebanon to the UAE where he masterminded signature cocktails for all Iris venues plus White, Indie, Matto, La Mezcaleria and the recently opened Bar Du Port. In 2019, he also restructured Iris Beach, Iris, Madame Bleu and La Mezcaleria in Lebanon.
Today, he is the Global beverage manager for Addmind Hospitality’s Iris and Bar Du Port brands. During Tato’s career at Addmind, he has been instrumental in developing the beverage programmes and building stellar bar teams for multiple outlets throughout the Gulf region including at Iris Beirut, Iris Dubai, Iris Qatar, Iris Bahrain and Iris Expo. In 2012, the first-ever Iris pop-up opened in Abu Dhabi for the Formula One Grand Prix. In 2013, Iris Abu Dhabi Yas Island was then launched, followed by Iris Dubai. Tato was appointed as bar manager and master mixologist at both outlets. Later he became beverage manager at Addmind UAE before being promoted to global beverage manager.
Both high-volume venues have an incredibly demanding bar service that require a special set of skills, which Tato has mastered. He still has a love for mixology and, to this day, works behind the bar to support and teach his team. It’s this knowledge that makes Tato such a great leader. His team look up to him and have a lot of respect for him. Anyone learning under Tato will typically become a highly skilled and knowledgeable bartender. The bar teams at Iris and Bar Du Port are a testament to his leadership.
Tato is described as a creative genius behind the bar. His team refers to him as “maestro” because they know they are learning from the best. He has respect and passion for the craft of mixology that isn’t seen every day. When creating a cocktail menu, Tato immerses himself in the process, like an artist at work. He is detail-oriented and is meticulous in every step of the beverage-making process.
Over the years, he has developed a team of well-qualified bartenders offering high-end service. Rather than simply taking orders, they showcase their experience to the guests. He is passionate about developing award-winning drinks and staying ahead of current market trends which now include low-ABV cocktails.
He said: “You can make the best cocktail in the world, but if you don’t make the people feel different when they enter the venue and if the cocktail isn’t delivered in the right way, then this doesn’t create the right experience.”
Tato recently returned from the Jalisco Legendary Tour in Mexico where he visited 20 distilleries in a week and met with bartenders from around the world including industry legend Dré Masso. He said: “Through my journey, I’ve been able to put our homegrown concepts such as Iris on the global map.”
Tato’s secret to success is working hard to build a solid team around him. He believes in being on the ground and behind the bar and pays attention to every detail because he believes that all elements matter and are represented in the final product. He added: “It doesn’t feel like work, it’s a hobby. Mixology and bartending are part of who I am.”