Monica Berg: the First "Best Female Bartender in the World" by 50 Best

Sveva Valeria Castegnaro
copertina monica berg

Monica Berg's sustainable, minimalist, and straightforward drinks conquer 50 Best Bars. The renowned bartender is the first woman to receive this award.

The Bartender

Monica Berg's accolades would make anyone envious: the Oslo-born, now British citizen bartender, topped the "Bar World 100" list in 2023 for the fourth time, highlighting the most influential figures in the industry. Monica is the first woman to receive this title, but this recognition doesn't distract her from being focused and dedicated to her passion and daily work. “I can't say I'm not proud of such an award, but I don't put unnecessary pressure on myself and stay grounded. I want to focus completely on the team and creativity," she told Rolling Pin.

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She is so dedicated to her work that the demotion from second to eighth place in the "World’s 50 Best Bars" ranking of “Tayēr + Elementary,” the bar she runs with her partner Alex Kratena, doesn't worry her. "This has very little impact on our daily work and the quality of our offerings," she continues. Pragmatism, minimalism, and sustainability are part of Berg's DNA, having grown up in a house on an Oslo fjord in a family involved in agriculture, fishing, and forestry. "Sustainability was never an imposition for us; it was normal. This principle has accompanied me from the beginning of my career to today," she confides.

tayer elementary

Monica got into the bar world while still studying economics at her father's behest ("boring but maybe useful in hindsight") and simultaneously working at a bar. Her father hoped she would continue, but "the direct contact with people, the conversations, the art of cocktails fascinated me so much that right after graduation I completed a course at the renowned H. Butlers Bartending School," she explains. After earning her diploma, Monica started teaching at the very school where she was a student, eventually becoming its director at just 23 years old. "The school was completely independent from the industry. No brand support or promotions. We bought every liquor wholesale. For young bartenders, it's very important that no one tells them what to use," she says. These were just the beginnings of her long successful career.

Parabere Care Award 2024 monica berg tayer elementar

In 2011, she started working at "Aqua Vitae" in Oslo, where she met Alex, now her business and life partner. In 2013, the two moved to London, but the timing wasn't right to start a business together. Monica worked at "Pollen Street Social" and received the "Altos Bartenders' Bartender Award," the "Zeile Honorary Award," and was named bartender of the year while Alex managed his "Artesian Bar," winning the top spot in the "World's 50 Best" four times.

In 2018, the couple, rich with experience, opened "Tayēr + Elementary" at 152 Old Street. Monica and Alex's bar has two faces: "Elementary," open all day, and "Tayēr," open in the evening. "Tayēr is a Spanish term meaning workshop: it represents exactly what we conceive as our bar. 'Elementary' is the concept part that represents the connection with local cuisine." Minimalism and sustainability in the environment and cocktails are the common denominators of the two realities.

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"For us, what matters is what's in the glass, not what's around it." Equally important for the "Tayēr + Elementary" couple are teamwork and sharing, which earned them the "Parabere Care Award 2024" from Petra, recognizing fair and ethical business practices and team well-being.

This philosophy accompanied Monica and Alex even during the pandemic when to keep the bar running, they created “Tayēr LTD,” a takeaway concept that is still successful today. When asked to comment on all these successes, Monica's words are clear and typically pragmatic: "Mutual respect, understanding, and every night dream a little bigger than the night before!"

Campari Academy Monica Berg


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