We had the good fortune of connecting with Carl Wrangel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Carl, what do you attribute your success to?
The most important factor for our success would probably be that we are constantly looking to improve the concenpt. We have since the beginning had at least byweekly meetings with our staff to hear them out on what we can do better, regarding both service, the systems we have in place, drinks selection, cleaning, interior, how to handle guest in certain situations etc. We always believed the key to a successful bar lays in inclusion of both staff and guest. In the early days we let the guest shape the place as we were finding our feet. We looked at how our guest was using the bar, and adapted accordingly. When the bar had optimized it’s functionality, we presented systems that would improve workflow, ran it through our staff and had them adapt it further to customize it to their workflow. Every bar teams is different, come from different backgrounds and have unique ideas, so with every team, the bar itself and it’s systems get slightly more optimized and never outdated.
After having worked in bars for so long where staff hade zero to little imput in how the bar was run, even drinks selection the only natural way to go, was the opposite.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
It took me many, many years behind the bar to realize that the drinks we serve is not the most important thing. As a young bartender I thoguht that the soul reason gueest come visit your bar was your unique cocktails. In hindsight I could not be more wrong. So when I realized this I started looking art bars very differently, trying to figure out what small element made that bar uniqe. As I sat in bars i liked, I started writing down all the little things that made me feel welcome in that particular bar, could it be the floor plan, height to the ceiling, stool to bar ratio, lighting, sound etc. And slowly I started builing a vibe in my notebook. Then onee day in 2011 me aand my partner had a look at a venue, an old concrete basement and as soon as we stepped in, I could feel the soul of the palce, and fairly quickly hade a picture infront of me, and it fitted the vibe I had in my mind, The Barking Dog. So here is where the artistry comes in, Not only did we build a bar, but created a vibe. For me it has been a bit of an art project to create rooms that are beautiful and comfortable with great functionality. I took this with me when we built our liquor store Shoppen (The Shop), which is truly uniqe in style, it is a place where it is easy to hang out for while without really knowing why, it’s comforing in a way. The biggest struggle was our latest bar Paloma, we overtook a venue a bit in a rush, it was too good a deal to say no, but we had either time or concept. To kill time and get a feel of the place we started exposing bricks up there, which is very time consuming, but also a bit meditative, and a feeling of the place started growing inside me. At this point I could not yet see it infront of me and did a lot of scetching. We finally opened the door 6 months later and then a two year identity crisis followed until I finally knew how to transform the room into the feeling I was chasing. Now we are here, still improving and doing minor changes, but the vibe is there. Sometimes great thing grow slow.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
In the mornings we would probably have a bread roll with cheese and a cup of coffee in one of the many great bakeries around the city. It is a very Danish thing to have a “Bolle med ost” at a bakery, wether you sit in or just have it on the go. Top three bakeries would be Hart Bageri, Rondo & Bageriet Brød. I am a filter coffee kind of guy and they all offer good coffee.
For lunch we would definitely go fully Danish and go to classic smørrebrød restaurants. Smørrebrød is a Danish classic lunch which is open face sandwiches, a few classics would be battered fish fillet, egg and praws, potato with fried onion and chicken sallad. Best accompanied by a akvavit or two and a lager.
In the evenings we would cook a lot at home since for me it is also family time, and I really enjoy cooking for friends and family. But I can tell that is not the answer you are looking for so I’d take my friend to three restaurants. First we would go to Baka D’Busk, a very lively and dynamic vegetarian restaurant that serves both great food and good wine and the vibe is high. Sanchez is one of my all time favourites, I love Mexican food and this place is great. It takes me straight back to my trips to Mexico and has enough spices to chill my need to go back to Mexico for another few weeks, and they have plenty of Mezcal. Lastly I would take my friend just down the road from my appartement to a place I only recently visited for the first time, thoguh I’ve been wanting to go since they opened, Tigermom. A south east asian kitchen in a fun sertting, they offer both chili pairing and drinks pairing with the food, and they were both great. The drinks pairing included wine, beer, cocktails and sake.
At night I would love to take my friend to Bird which is a great new bar, with good music from vinyl and really good cocktails, then we would go a few meters down the road to Vinstue 90 and have the best Carlsberg in town, from cask. We would go to a few bodegas (equivelent of local english pub) before we most likely end up having a few beers on a park bench somewhere in Copenhagen.
I would check the lineup att both Loppen & Punmpehuset for concerts, they are both iconic music venues for Copenhagen, We would check out Louisiana Museum if my friend hasn¨t been there and maybe Bastard, a boardgame cafe in the city.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Tomas Estes, without doubt. Tomas was appointed the European Ambassador of Tequila by the Mexican Regulatory Council (CRT). He owned and opeened twwnty plus restaurants and bars between the late 70’s and late 2000’s and had more life experieence than most people i know. We met while I was working in a Mexican bar in London in 2006. Instantly he became a father like figure to me and took me under his wings. A man full of love, compassion and tequila. He always had time to talk and was never shy of of great advice. We had many long talks over the years which helped shape my path.
Instagram: @therealpapacarl @barkingdogcph @shoppencph @palomacph
Fanny Wandel Pablo HTG Rasmus Himmelstrup