Food focus

‘There was a lot of shame at the start’: Confessions of a sober bartender

Going sober is hard for anyone but giving up the drink when you’re a bartender is a whole other ball game. Two years into his sobriety journey, NoMad bar manager Davide Segat talks to Hannah Twiggs about redefining his relationship with alcohol, keeping the haters at bay and celebrating the small wins

Sunday 07 January 2024 14:34 GMT
Segat has been sober for two years
Segat has been sober for two years (NoMad)

Giving up booze, whether it’s for a month, a year or life, is hard at the best of times. Pints after work, Friday nights out and catching up over a glass of wine (or three) are as ingrained in the British psyche as sarcasm, complaining about the weather and judging Americans for how they make tea.

Going sober as a bartender? Well, now you’re playing in the big leagues.

After two years, Davide Segat, bar manager at NoMad London, has learnt to live with his sobriety and the struggles that still come with it. “There was a lot of shame at the beginning,” he tells me, a few days before he’s due to fly off to Australia for a two-week respite. After the busy Christmas period, he needs one. “As a professional, I should be the one that knows the cause, the effects and how to control it. I should be the example of how you maintain alcohol, and I wasn’t able to do that.”

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