Fabelei - cocktails and tales
During my last visit in Berlin (a few weeks ago) I had a pleasure to visit an amazing couple who will soon open a VERY interesting cocktail place there. I obviously could not help myself not to ask some questions about this project. Ladies and gentlemen here is what Filip Bochenski and Anastasia Schöck got to tell You about FABELEI.
- Fabelei – why have You chosen this name for your bar? Is there any story behind it?
Anastasia: When I was meeting Filip, I was coming as a guest to a cocktail bar where he was working and I was wet behind the ears. Every time he was presenting a classic cocktail to me, I was asking about the history of the drink, where it was originating from and what the idea was to mix all those ingredients together. Storytelling makes things interesting. When we started to think about the idea to open a bar together, I remembered it and the name just appeared: FABELEI.
The word is an ancient German word for fantastic stories and fiction, same like „Fabel“. It was just fitting right away to our idea and concept. And now, the letters are even working with our initial letters F(ilip)-A(nastasia)-B(ar)-ELEI. 😀
- New cocktail bar on the map of Berlin – what is the concept of your place and what can We expect coming to Fabelei? Where exactly can We find You?
Filip: We actually thought there is a need for a place that we are missing on the map of Berlin. Many concepts which we are finding here, do not speak to us anymore. It is also because me as ex-smoker find it very difficult to enjoy a good drink in a smoking environment. And a lot of the very good bars are smoking places over here in Berlin.
Anastasia: We also chose Berlin Schöneberg as our favorite area as we are both living here for couple of years and we know the scene and guests. It is a quite mixed area with families, old people, foreigners and couple of tourists. Also it has a great bar scene which we are now extending.
- Tell us something about the interior. How many seated places are they going to be? What design have You decided on?
Anastasia: We wanted the design to be inviting and quite bright for FABELEI because we decided against a speakeasy concept. While searching for the right spot to be and first coming to a place, we immediately had some ideas in our mind. So with where we find us now:
The rooms of FABELEI are enlightened all day. We are able to have a nice terrace on both sides of the outside. Our aim was to catch the light into the room, but make it cozy at the same time. Light and bar seem not to work together too good – at first sight. In reality, it is only about how you place interior and artificial lightning. We chose grey as main colour, combined with old pine wood which we found under six layers of paint on the window and door frames. We integrated those frames in our whole design concept, mixed old and new, grey, gold and green. The green comes from the herbs and spices which are placed in our backbar. Herbs are also one featured element of FABELEI as they are used in drinks and food, but also in the room and in the air. FABELEI is supposed to be an overall experience. We offer space for around 40 people inside and even more on the terrace.
- The menu – can You share some secrets? In which direction You`ll take it? Is there going to be food on it?
Filip: Our signature drinks of the first menu tells some little stories about us and about FABELEI. It is built up playfully in the menu, but serious on your table. Everyone will find something interesting, from easy going to more complex drinks. Not going too deep into the laboratory, we are cooking and preparing all of our ingredients such as sirups, espumas, infusions on our own, using even those herbs and spices you can find in our backbar.
To make sure that the guest will stay after one, two drinks we also offer bar food to our taste. Besides the cocktail range, you will also find a juicy cheese sandwich with a special FABELEI relish on our menu.
- How do You divide tasks between yourselves? Who`s responsible for what?
Filip: Anastasia took over the toughest job: paperwork, finances and management. She is also the reason it all started and FABELEI became to live.
Anastasia: Filip is responsible for the cocktail creation and inventions – the tasty part of FABELEI. He is our Food and Beverage manager, if you want to say so. We are making sure that what we offer is fresh and handmade. Still we do a lot of things together – all design and renovation aspects, we are often having similar ideas in mind.
- Is it difficult to share such a project while being in a relationship at the same time? Have You found your way to deal with stress that comes with opening a new bar?
Anastasia: To be honest, when I said „C’mon, let’s do this now!“, I had just half of the idea about how much time it all needs. From: having the first idea in your head, building the concept around it – to: searching the right spot to be, changing the design concept a million times due to the location… It makes a lot of fun. It is a creating process, but also very exhausting. For me personally, I see it as big challenge and adventure for a relationship. There are many possibilities to argue – which is good if it ends in productive results.
Stress is a big thing that especially appears somewhere at the beginning and short before opening. Breaks are very important.
Filip: Definitely no-one said it will be easy and we expected to have some difficulties. Things sometimes can become passionate but we always find a way to talk them trough and find the best solution together. In between all of the work, we still try to find some time for us as couple and not only as business partners. Things to enjoy together are for instance good food, a nice walk around the neighborhood or half an hour on the couch with our cats.
- Based on your experience. What are the 3 most difficult issues about opening your own bar?
Anastasia: In my opinion – and not only related to opening a bar like FABELEI – the biggest challenge in life always is communication! In the end, everything depends on that. It is definitely the biggest challenge to keep everyone informed at the same time and make sure things are working out.
Filip: Time management! A forty hours working week is just not enough. The problem is that we have to fit ourselves into the forty hours week of others while we are working three times more.
Anastasia: And last but not least being patient. There are a lot of things which cannot be done in five minutes, but take their time. We decided to make everything as it was in our imagination – that also means we started from the scratch. It takes time to renovate a whole place, it takes time to get the furniture you want, but also to make the right decisions for your business to make it individual, prosper and still cling to your own rules.
- Fun parts of this experience so far?
Filip: The best is to see how FABELEI changes day by day: When the walls are built up again, the tiles are laid down, the lamps over the bar are glowing and the spirit shelf is ready to be filled, then you know that you did it right, so far. We can hardly wait to see the first guests at the bar.
- When can We expect You to open the door for us? 🙂
Anastasia: We are celebrating our opening on January 2nd, 2019 – fun fact: Filip and my mutual birthday! But to make a gift to our guests and friends, we are opening our doors on December 20th, 2018 for the first day. So, join us at FABELEI for a Christmas cocktail 🙂
Bartourist: I think that We are all going to be waiting for the doors of Fabelei to open. Until then You can follow the progress of their work at the official fanpage – https://www.facebook.com/fabelei/ .
Good luck and see You in 2019 !