‘It’s the most fun I’ve ever had in a job, ever,’ says Kuckoo bartender

My Workplace feature at Kuckoo Rocks cocktail bar on Fox Street in Preston. Bar sign.  PIC BY ROB LOCK 17-7-2014

My Workplace feature at Kuckoo Rocks cocktail bar on Fox Street in Preston. Bar sign. PIC BY ROB LOCK 17-7-2014

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Working in one of Preston’s most popular night spots is a job filled with fun, LAURA WILD finds out.

It has often been said that Kuckoo in Preston is the place to be – and it also seems it is the place to work.

My Workplace feature at Kuckoo Rocks cocktail bar on Fox Street in Preston. The team, with L-R: Dan Griffiths, Johnny Culkin, Matt Nellany and Dave Darrah.  PIC BY ROB LOCK 17-7-2014

My Workplace feature at Kuckoo Rocks cocktail bar on Fox Street in Preston. The team, with L-R: Dan Griffiths, Johnny Culkin, Matt Nellany and Dave Darrah. PIC BY ROB LOCK 17-7-2014

The popular cocktail bar in Fox Street in the heart of the city centre boasts workers with fine cocktail making skills and is a venue that is booming.

But working in such a busy environment, despite being demanding is also huge fun for the people who work there, who have learn the tricks of the cocktail trade along the way.

Johnny Culkin was one of three friends who set up the venture four years ago and says business is booming.

He said: “We started four years ago Richard Powell is the main owner, myself and Rodrigo Arujo set it up with him to create a rock and roll bar that’s totally different to anywhere else.

“We have a managerless system, we give the guys the opportunity to create their own career.

“I am more of a mentor, they have their career with the bar and cocktail industry.

“Our goal is to make them the best bartenders in Preston with the end goal of being the best bar in Preston and eventually the North West.

“The guys come in, they do stock takes and all the management stuff – they learn on the job.

“They can stay and become a brand champion or walk into any other bar and have all the skills. They will become a mixologist but at the same time know how to operate a venue.”

There’s four staff at Kuckoo in Preston and the owners also run Beachcomber next door and Kuckoo in Chester.

He added: “We are always busy on Friday and Saturday and nice and steady midweek.”

Johnny says working in the bar, in particular at weekend is about making sure customers have the best night out, but it is also vital the staff enjoy themselves too.

He says: “Everyone else is coming in for a night out. We want the lads to have fun while working. It’s quite a relaxed atmosphere and a positive one. We work towards the weekend. A lot of preparation goes into the weekend.”

Matt Nellany, 23, has worked at Kuckoo for five months. He said: “It’s fantastic – it’s the most fun I’ve had in a job ever.

“I have worked in this industry for four or five years in bars in Preston and Manchester. It is a laugh, we can party with the customers, we have a laugh and the lads are amazing.

“It can be daunting when there’s so many faces in front of you but it never stresses me out too much.

“My favourite cocktail to make at the moment is Aviation. It’s gin based with a violet liquor – it tastes like violet sweets.

“One of the most popular cocktails is the Rainbow, the one with glowsticks. We make a ridiculous amount of those. It’s popular with the girls!

“We are a really close team, like a family. When we are working together we just bounce off each other.

“It was my favourite bar before I worked here.”

Dave Darrah, 23, has worked at Kuckoo for nine months. Originally from Essex, Dave came to Preston to study at UCLan and stayed in the city after finishing his degree in Outdoor Leadership.

He said the job is “superb”.

He added: “it’s lots of fun, it’s different to anywhere I have worked before. We are just a group of mates essentially that are working towards the same thing.”

Dan Griffiths, 23, from Chorley, added: “There’s lots of work that goes into behind the scenes to allow what people see at the weekend. It’s a demanding job but it’s worth it. Everybody is really passionate about what they do.”