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The lad hosting a ‘bartenders Christmas’ for hospitality staff with nowhere to go, The Manc

The lad hosting a ‘bartenders Christmas’ for hospitality staff with nowhere to go

For the past few years, Dominic Gold has put on free food and booze at Christmas for bartenders who can’t get home – earning himself the nickname of the Northern Quarter’s part time Santa

A lad in Manchester is hosting a ‘bartenders Christmas’ this year so that fellow hospitality workers with nowhere to go don’t have to be alone on Christmas Day.

Dominic Gold, who has worked in bars in the UK and across Europe since he was 18, has been throwing an annual ‘bartenders Christmas’ with free food and booze in Manchester for a couple of years now.

With over ten years of experience working in hospitality over Christmas, he knows better than most that, whilst for many the festive period is a joyful one, many hospitality staff actually dread it.

The lad hosting a ‘bartenders Christmas’ for hospitality staff with nowhere to go, The Manc
Dominic plates up some late-night leftover burgers after the Christmas Day meal / Image: Dominic Gold

For those who have family far away, it’s often difficult to travel back with their limited amount of time off, especially considering the minimal public transport services that run over the Christmas bank holiday period.

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So, rather than spend the day alone, for the past few years he’s been getting in the kitchen and cooking up a feast for other lonely bartenders to bring some cheer to what might otherwise become a sad day – earning himself the nickname of the Northern Quarter’s part time Santa.

“We work hard and endless hours for the two months approaching Christmas then a lot of us only get one day off which makes it hard to travel back to family,” he told The Manc.

“I personally don’t often see family for the day and decided at first to see which friends would want to gather for the day to try and bring some fun and happiness to an otherwise saddening day.”

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The first year, he tells us, there were about fifteen people all in all. He paid for all the food, did all the cooking, and asked everyone to bring their own drink – a tradition that continued for the first two years.

Originally, the day was about me giving back to the community that supports me […] the best thing about it was a lot of the bartenders wanted to help and joined me in the kitchen in the days approaching,” he added.

Last year, of course, things were a little different due to Covid – but now, with the bars back open again and no sign of any forced closures on the horizon, rotas are well and truly in place and so another bartender’s Christmas is on the horizon for 2021.

This year I wanted to go bigger and better, so I opened it up to donations from brands to equally support the industry that fuels them,” he tells us

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The lad hosting a ‘bartenders Christmas’ for hospitality staff with nowhere to go, The Manc
Part-time Santa Dominic (right) and Lochlan (left), a volunteer and the general manager of Tariff and Dale / Image: Dominic Gold

“Currently, we have had a fair amount of donations, from whiskey, alcohol-free drinks, craft beer, and even a donation from the Northern Quarter butchers.

“But we still could do with more and more, if there is ever a point that there’s too much, it will be raffled off and the money donated to a charity which supports the industry in terms of supporting the on the ground staff.”

This year, the Christmas Day frivolities start at 1pm at Black Dog Ballroom in the Northern Quarter, which has been donated to use on Christmas Day for free – and any bar staff finding themselves alone in Manchester are very welcome.

Kitchens, meanwhile, are being supplied by Danny Smith of Lazy Tony’s Lasagneria and Chloe Pu of Salt and Pepper, so there’s sure to be quite a spread laid on.

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The lad hosting a ‘bartenders Christmas’ for hospitality staff with nowhere to go, The Manc
Image: Dominic Gold

As for practical donations, all sorts of contributions are very welcome: from small presents so that people have something to open on the day, to produce to cook and serve, drink for drinking, table settings, crackers – “literally anything to make the day bigger and brighter,” says Dom.

Dom tells us that numbers for this year are “growing and growing” so there “will eventually be a cap”, however, he says thanks to the generosity of Black Dog he has a lot of room this year and really wants to fill it.

“Everyone may not believe in Christmas or think of it fondly from past experience. But I am determined as a person and as a ten-year bartender to change the minds of at least a few and hopefully many.”

If anyone wants to come along they can contact Dom at [email protected] or simply bring items down to Black Dog Ballroom in the Northern Quarter and tell whoever receives it “it’s for the Christmas do.”

Feature image – Dominic Gold

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