Chelsie Bailey

Chelsie Bailey to join Happiness Forgets

11 December, 2019

Chelsie Bailey will take over the management reins of Happiness Forgets in London, signalling an end to a nine-year bartending career in Bristol, Drinks International can exclusively reveal.

The Bacardi Legacy UK champion - who has worked at some of Bristol’s most acclaimed bars, including Filthy XIII, Red Light and Milk Thistle – will join the Hoxton basement bar as general manager in February, replacing Gian Jesus who leaves for New York.

Bailey told DI: “Happiness Forgets has been my favourite bar in the world since the moment I walked in. When I said I was looking to move to London, [owner] Ali Burgess called me and asked for a chat. He offered me the bar manager’s job – it’ll be looking after the whole venue, and 4-5 days a week behind the bar.”

Despite her reputation for cocktail creation, Bailey has no plans to immediately impose her drinks on the Hoxton Square bar. “I don’t want to change a thing. I’ll learn how the bar works inside and out. If a drink I make is tasty then it might go on the list, but everything we do will be a team effort.”

On leaving Bristol, Bailey said: “I’ve always been that person that says I’ll never leave but since competing in Bacardi Legacy it’s opened my eyes - I now feel like it’s my time [to leave for London]. Through cocktail competitions, I’ve managed to have the reputation of a bartender who worked in London but lived in Bristol, but now I’ve retired from comps, being in London means I am in the thick of it.”

Bailey says at 31 she still sees her future as working behind the bar, not a desk. “I just want to be behind my favourite bar making drinks and carrying on learning. I’ve been bartending for 14 years – cocktail bars for nine – and I still love it.”

Alastiar Burgess, owner of Happiness Forgets, told DI: "Chelsie was my first thought to replace Rhys Wilson two years ago but then she decided to stay in Bristol. I am super stoked that she's going to be joining the team and cant wait to work with her."

Happiness Forgets has featured in the last eight editions of The World’s 50 Best Bars, a feat not lost on Bailey. “It’s overwhelming! Happiness finished 40th this year, so I hope it stays in next year – who knows it could go up – but as long as the bar is doing well, that’s what matters.”  

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