If you appreciate a quality cocktail served by charismatic bartenders in a Scandi-style contemporary venue, you’ll already know This Must Be The Place. Since opening last year on Oxford Street it has gathered a following for its friendly, sincere service and the smooth pours of co-owners and friends Luke Ashton and Charlie Ainsbury. You might remember Ashton from Surry Hills bar Vasco, or perhaps from his Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year title in 2013. But you might not know Ashton’s sartorial nous is as good as what he shakes and stirs.
Broadsheet: How has your work environment influenced your style over the years?
Luke Ashton: I worked at Vasco for two years prior to TMBTP and it was an Italian, cocktail, rock’n’roll bar, so the lean was more towards rock-inspired attire. There was a lot of denim at the time! Before Vasco I was at the Roosevelt(link), which had that speakeasy-bartender vibe; I wore a bow tie and braces at the time but that look certainly didn’t find its way into my daywear.
BS: What’s your work wardrobe at TMBTP?
LA: We all wear button-down shirts or collared shirts at the bar. I usually wear a chambray shirt with my collar buttoned up because it’s comfortable and casual but we also try to portray a level of professionalism and care. I used to wear jeans but then I started wearing chinos and I haven’t looked back. I like the functionality of chinos; they breathe better and are easier to move in. We do a lot of moving behind the bar and running up and down stairs. Plus, as I’m getting a bit older, I’m all about comfort.
BS: Where do you take your style cues from?
LA: I’d be lying if I didn’t say my wife is my main stylist. I stick to a certain colour palette and cut I’m familiar with but Kylie [Kylie Javier Ashton, general manager at Momofuku Seiobo] takes me a little bit outside my comfort zone. I’d say nine times out of 10 I love what she chooses. Recently I purchased a pair of bloodwood-red patent-leather brogues with a white sole. It’s not a colour combination I would usually steer towards, but I’m really happy with them. I’m also a big fan of a pant with a slightly higher cuff; it’s amazing how good the ventilation feels. I tend to wear sneakers in the bar, but if I’m working the floor I’ll change.
BS: Where are your favourite places to shop?
LA: I really like Alfie’s Friend Rolfe(link), and I’m very much enjoying Jac+ Jack(link) pants, T-shirts and shorts. I’ve also been gifted some really nice stuff from Kit & Ace(link).
BS: What about jewellery and watches?
LA: I always wear my wedding ring at work, and a watch is essential. At the moment I’m wearing a Daniel Wellington with a really simple white face, a rose-gold rim and a brown band. I also have a Sinn watch, which has a black face with a Nato strap on it.
BS: What would you expect someone who ordered an Old Fashioned to be wearing?
LA: It could go one of two ways. It could be a suited, well-heeled gentleman who has come from a nice power lunch. Or it could be a hipster with a beard.
BS: What about a Martini?
LA:A Martini is an authoritative drink. If someone orders a Martini they are confident, so the way they’d carry themselves and the persona they’d portray could lead to all sorts of outfits that are confident and well put together.