James Whitlam began his career as a glass collector in the old Bia Hoi bar in Mappin Street. Now he’s back on the premises as manager and ‘rum-meister’ of the new Revolución de Cuba – the first of its brand in the world.
The Revolución, which opens tomorrow, is the sister of its differently-spelled namesake, the other contrast being that this one specialises in rum, rather than vodka.
In fact the new bar and cantina stocks 50 different types of the spirit, along with a whole range of exotic cocktails and even a ‘rum burger’ (although this turns out to be a standard burger with rum-flavoured chilli sauce).
It’s all part of the concept, says the rum-meister, who has been with Inventive Leisure for several years and has helped to develop the new brand.
Born and bred in Sheffield, James is thrilled that his home city has been chosen to launch the company’s first Rum Club bar.
“It’s really exciting. I’ve always liked rum – it’s such a versatile spirit and it’s quite trendy at the moment,” he says.
“Sheffield is quite diverse, with students, young professionals and older people all coming together. It’s the perfect place to launch this concept.”
Aficionados can join the Monday evening Rum Club, qualifying to have their names gilded on the official membership board. Other special offers include a cocktail party experience.
Or just call in and soak up the atmosphere along with a classic mojito or a teapot of punch. Food is Latin style, from nachos and Cuban sandwiches to Revolución de Cuba salad and mojito-battered prawns, all cooked fresh on the premises. Snap up a mojito and a burrito for £7.95 any day, noon to 6pm.