Money & Careers

Raising the bar

Ricks bar manager Sharoni Sharma. Photo: Shanker Chakravarty   | Photo Credit: Shanker Chakravarty

So what do you do? “Well, I am a bar manager.”

For a woman in this country to lip such a response to the question, you know, is still not easy. Till some time ago, even our law didn't consent it. Thank goodness, such an archaic regulation has been consigned to history now and here we have this charming youngster Sharoni Sharma taking up a position that has perpetually been reserved for male employees in the hotel industry. Kolkata-born Sharoni is the first ever bar manager at The Taj Mahal Hotel's popular Ricks bar. This also makes her the city's only woman bar manager, be it in a five-star hotel or in the ever mushrooming speciality stand-alone restaurants.

In fact, Sharoni, a hotel management graduate from WelcomGroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration, Manipal, was no less surprised than others when her senior manager made the offer last October. “I have previously worked as a manager at the hotel's restaurant Machan and then managed its elite club Chambers for about a year but I was not prepared for the job of a bar manager primarily because I never thought it will be given to a woman. As a management trainee, I had interned at Ricks and had a blast but I always had it in my mind that I will never return to this place to work because of my gender. So when the offer came, I was surprised but thought of taking it up at once, I looked at it as a challenge,” says a bubbly Sharoni. Thoughts like “will the boys in the team accept me”, “will I be able to approach the guests,” floated in her mind initially. Now over six months old in the job, she, however, says there has not popped up any juncture so far when she regretted her choice.

“My team is good; the outgoing manager, under whom I trained at Ricks as an intern, helped me a lot on the very first day itself. Now I know the regulars, some of them have been coming to the bar for the last 10 years or so, I know how to manage the bar gate, the weekend rush, my team, etc.” She is clear her job “is not to man the bar but the bartender surely and to manage the inventory. I have to constantly meet suppliers, we have a three-member team to check new products, new cocktails that the bartender experiments with. I regularly check city bars to know what others are doing, so not for nothing do I keep telling my counterparts that I am the only manager in the hotel who is allowed to drink on duty.”

Her day begins at 11.30 in the morning and after seeing off the last guest can she leave her post. “The bar shuts at 1 a.m. By the time I reach home it's late but I have no complaints,” states Sharoni. Every Wednesday and Saturday, a deejay plays at Ricks and our lady says, “That helps me unwind.” Ricks has been known for playing Retro, and that agrees with her taste. “So you can say I have a ball at workplace,” signs off the trendsetter, clearly paving the way for women in the city to adopt yet another job avenue.

(sangeetab@thehindu.co.in)


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Printable version | Nov 26, 2021 3:58:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/money-and-careers/raising-the-bar/article2016153.ece

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