It is the place where he detaches from everything. It is the island against the wear and tear of modern life. It is the place where we are distracted and at the same time we recognize ourselves. A bar is not just a bar. Indomitable cultural movements, famous friendships arise. The bars have seen the drafting of posters of every avant-garde, of revolutions, of political dissidents. And it doesn't matter if you're just going to have a cocktail, maybe even non-alcoholic. When you approach a counter, anything can happen, from a life-changing meeting to an inspiring chat.
“Everything is important, from interior design to people's movements, from social skills to the empathy necessary for a pleasant environment, where one is open to curiosity and new experiences. In a bar, what you don't know yet and what will make you feel good counts”. Domenico Carella is an out of the ordinary bar tender. When he is there to take care of it, a place becomes a project. For years he has been a consultant to the big players in the beverage sector. At the moment he is in charge of the design of a tool kit for temporary premises by Campari. A manual that accompanies a container with the necessary to open an instant-bar.
“It is a theatrical direction, the obsessive control of every detail is fundamental” he explains “From the type of ice I put in the drink, to how I place the glass on the table. I understood this by observing the mistakes of others and asking myself how and what can be improved to make people feel better”. Please note: good ice is what you buy by avoiding ice-making machines that consume energy, water and guests' immune systems.
A self-taught teenage start – the first bar on the family summer farm at sixteen. And a fulminating career: at 36, Carella worked on five continents, starting with the redesign of the roof bar of Otto e Mezzo Bombana, two Michelin stars in Shanghai. At the beginning of 2020 you open Carico. It is in Milan, on the threshold of one of the many design districts.. “When I arrived in 2019 the city had changed. The long wave of the Expo was felt, the sector was becoming international, advanced skills were needed. Carico is my aesthetic outlet, I designed it because I was missing such a place”.
What is a place made of where Milanese chefs and gourmands go to drink? “The project starts from the talent of the people around me. Leonardo D’Ingeo is a marvel in the kitchen, around him I have built a simple and refined format, based on high quality raw materials”.The economic paradigm of food & beverage is resolved in purchase / sell / serve. And according to Carella, a Negroni worthy of her name, and therefore not just any cocktail, costs no more than eight euros. “80% of the success of a venue depends on strategic and financial management. I need to know how to calculate how much a drink costs, a price that is made up of raw materials, good ice, correct glass, preparation time, communication, training of the people who work with me”.
Anyone who designs premises like Carico is a new type of professional, a cross between an operation manager and an inspired creator. It takes expertise in cost control, operating manuals, strategies and vision, plus customer service. He is a figure who happily solves the buy-sell-servant paradigm, within which the success of a restaurant business is decided. At Carico the atmosphere is relaxed, you are there “nice people, the ones I would invite to my house”. The menu changes every week: natural wine, sake, whiskey, and a non-alcoholic aperitif. Everything is of great quality. “I want to work on a modular idea, flexible, easy to manage and able to withstand the turnover of menus to always relaunch, try new things”.
And finally, the most important ingredient: talent. Domenico Carella is the overwhelming one and inspires the exploration of sui generis cocktails, of small delicacies, to immerse yourself in the sea magnum of literature that surrounds a plate and a glass, without getting lost. “Talent is not learned, it is what I look for in the people who work with me. I'm interested in understanding where they want to go, what ambitions they have. I teach him to talk, to ground problems and to find solutions. We work in heaven, I want it to be like this and this too is built through a good project”.