Meet the Bartender: Alan Roberts, Avida

Making his way from Western France, Alan Roberts left Brittany in 2011 to find himself in New Zealand. Initially, here for the Rugby World Cup, he got lost in New Zealand’s landscape and wines. 

Roberts is educated in liquids and wine sciences from his studies in France. However, his love for wines started with his mother giving him a sip at 14 from a Chenin blanc grown in Loire Valley. Notably, one of the best wines he has ever tasted. 

This passion for wine and its production assisted Roberts in school, where he excelled in French geography through his knowledge of the wine regions, a skill of his that remains with him today.

Working in Dublin, Ireland, provided Roberts with his initial experience while finalising his degree and beginning at a French restaurant where he learned the essential tips and trucks. Followed by his venture down south to Asia, Australia, and then New Zealand. 

Starting as a waiter in the Leuven Belgian Beer cafe and through grit and determination, Roberts made his way to Avida after a couple of years. Since then, he has helped re-open Jano Bistro on Willis Street and revamped the Tinakori Bistro into Daisey’s. 

“To stick to the true identity of Avida, we mostly serve Spanish Tapas, including tortillas, empanadas, gambas, bocadillo, and more,” said Roberts.

Avida has also taken inspiration from Turkish and Lebanese cuisines and barbeque feasts. 

The food is paired with a collection of fine wines that are fan favourites. While Roberts often wants to display a collection of global wines, he paces himself and combines it with tap beers, Spanish sherry, and other drinks.

Recently, Avida has produced its wine cellar allowing customers to take the wine away. Giving customers the opportunity to take home a mature bottle of wine to share with friends and family and reflect on their experiences at Avida. 

While there is a mixture of changing customer preferences, hiring, and retaining good stuff, Roberts believes the most concerning issues are those of the new generation. While happy with his current staff, he is unsure about future employees being able to handle the load.

Despite this, Roberts thoroughly enjoys training his staff, paving the way for the next group of people while simultaneously learning more. 

Roberts confirmed, “Creating a positive work environment is huge for me. Another huge achievement was creating non-alcoholic drinks from scratch, including Kombucha”.

Avida can be found in Wellington, where Roberts resides with his partner and daughter.