We have had the pleasure of having one of the world’s leading bartenders with us at Helio since 2017. Johan Evers is not just a bartender, but more of an artist. Something that may differ from society’s vision of a bartender.

 After acting as the bar manager at Penny & Bill, we’ve now knocked down the walls at our old café at Helio GT30. This is getting transformed at this very moment by Johan himself, dressed in painting clothes. At the time of writing he is changing the walls into what is to become “A Bar Called Gemma”. The cocktail bar will slowly be opening in May (possibly with one or two paint cans in front of it) but will be officially open in August, we’re very excited!

 Hi Johan! You’ve decided that you want to open the doors as early as May, what can we expect?

 You can expect me to be in a lovely process. You’ll probably see some some paint cans, a handwritten menu or a light bulb hanging from the ceiling. But do you know what will be constantly present? Feelings and passion.

What can we expect when you officially inaugurate A Bar Called Gemma?

 My feelings and passion will have been put in a place for generosity, feeling, awareness, diversity and artistry. A place where you can come to taste nectar in all forms, with intoxicating effects or innocent drinks. Also a place where you can, like a traditional shop, buy everything you need for a wonderful night at home. But, it will also be a place for community and unforgettable experiences.

We can now suppose that Generosity, Feeling, Awareness, Diversity and Artistry may be the common denominators of the bar name, Gemma? Are these words also words of value that you yourself are passionate about?

 Spot on.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?

Interior designer.

The jobs have a lot in common. Taking different components, beautiful and tasty, to create a symbiosis of perfection. So you became an interior designer but within the frame of reference of taste rather than style?

 Haha, well when you put it that way! Yes!

Your drink menu is entirely created based on your own adventures and experiences. Where will the trip take us?

 Worldwide! You will experience my journey from young to adult. What I was inspired of and what I’ve been part of, and what has continued to build my inspiration along the way. Something from the whole spectrum of flavors, your entire tongue will be activated. Taste experiences, environments, colors, shapes!

It sounds like you want to conquer the world?

 No, I just want to share my world and my view of it.

Are you a bartender who wants to shine in the spotlight?

 No, I’m just a bartender who wants to share my knowledge. And I will be able to do just that in the tiny sphere that is Gemma, it will not only include an experience platform and a cocktail bar – the bar will also act as a shop where you can come and buy products for your home, so you can own a bar at home. 

 What will we be able to buy in the store?

 Anything from drink packets and glass bottles to herbs and cocktail utensils. If you want an instruction book, I will give you one!

You’ve been here from early morning to late night, you’re really making this your dream place. Are you excited about opening the doors?

 Yes, I’m equally excited and terrified. I think both feelings are needed for a successful recipe. I’ll do everything I can to get what I want, but also let it grow organically. I want the business to come into its own after a time and I’ll be openminded to the needs of my guests.

Can you tempt us with something from the menu?  

 Of course. A delicious, refreshing twist on an Americano with Patchouli, wood and lemongrass. Or why not my version of the immensely popular “Shandyn” with Bacardi Carta Blanca, Martini Rosato, raspberry wine and season IPA. You’ll find a lot of good things! Are you tempted? 

 Extremely! Thank you Johan, we’re excited to settle down, and follow you your life’s journey!

Follow Johan’s journey from construction site to dream bar on @abarcalledgemma and follow us for constant updates and happenings on @wearehelio! To find out more about Johan’s vision check out this video. See you at Gemma!

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