Drink and be married

Two Halifax mixologists pour up brand new business, The Clever Barkeep.

Matt Boyle and Jeffrey Van Horne push cocktail aesthetics with The Clever Barkeep. RILEY SMITH

The cash you spend on the dress, the flowers, the photos goes a long way to not just make your moment next-level memorable, but make sure you feel like a million bucks. But the food, the drinks and party are just important—they’re the things that guests are still rehashing next day.

Jeff Van Horne and Matt Boyle know this. Not only are they two of the city’s leading cocktail innovators, but they’ve been to a lot of weddings. And now they’re gearing up to launch The Clever Barkeep, an endeavour that’ll blend their experience in and passion for top-notch hospitality, artful drinks and polished, personal service.

“It stemmed from a little bit of wanting to try something different that the city hasn’t seen before, it also came from a fatigue realm,” says Boyle. “Both of us were working a lot in bars, and working late. We wanted something new.”

The business will focus on quality beverage service for special events (mainly weddings and corporate gigs) and also spreading their expertise via consulting. The Clever Barkeep will offer skilled bar staff and beautiful glassware and is will collaborate with couples to find the perfect mix—whether it’s welcome cocktails, his and her specials, non-alcoholic options, wedding punch or colour-coordinated bevvies.

“We really want to push the aesthetics. We have a lot of small details that will set us apart,” says Van Horne, who plans to build a custom bar for outdoor or alternative venues. “This generation is very familiar with cocktails, and it’s a really sign of a sophisticated wedding to serve a nice cocktail, in a nice glass.”

“You’re kind of swinging and missing if you can’t provide an experience that makes people feel at home. It’s about a finely crafted hospitality package,” says Boyle. “But also, brides and grooms want something that’s unique, something they can call there own.”

The pair wants to keep its Barkeep packages flexible for different set-ups, locations, budgets and visions. “And it’s really important to provide a safe environment for people to imbibe,” says Boyle, meaning alcohol doesn’t have to be part of the equation.

And if it is?

“We provide hangover tincture at the end of the night.”

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