Danish champion bartender opens dream restaurant in Harrogate
Last updated Mar 17, 2023

This story is sponsored by Jespers Bar & Kitchen.

Danish-born Jesper Callisen opened Jesper’s Bar & Kitchen on Station Parade with the aim of creating a unique, cosy space that offers quality delicious food and drink, with amazing service, that will ensure all guests are treated to a fantastic experience.

The venue that was previously run by Filmore & Union and Hustle & Co, now has a bar, with a sophisticated restaurant upstairs serving refined British fare with an international twist in the evenings. In the Spring/Summer there is also the opportunity to enjoy al fresco drinking and dining in the courtyard and pavement seating.

But even though the 36-year-old may seem relatively young to open a 90-cover restaurant staffed by 18 people, he’s no novice to the industry.

“I first became interested in hospitality at the age of four, when I watched my brother practising his bartending skills in the garden. At the age of 7, I started collecting miniature bottles of whisky. “I wanted to be the best bartender in the world. I didn’t quite get there , but my passion for the industry grew and I managed to become pretty good.”

Some of the cocktails and food available at Jesper's in Harrogate.

Some of the cocktails and food available at Jesper’s Bar & Kitchen in Harrogate.

Jesper has previously been crowned Denmark’s champion flair bartender three times consecutively and was ranked 8th in the world at the 2011 World Championships.

After opening Ofelia, a “wildly popular”  bar for the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen in 2008, he then took his skills around the world, living and working in the Caribbean, Brazil, France, Spain and the UK. He said:

“I love people and I have worked and studied incredibly hard to be able to have the opportunity to travel, work and experience the hospitality industry in many walks of life.”

“After qualifying as a sommelier, I moved to the Cayman Islands, where I was lucky enough to work with an exquisite amount of fine wines.

“I ran the biggest tasting room in the Caribbean, with over 80 wines available by the glass. That was where I honed my skills and learned how to give people an experience they don’t forget.

“We don’t have quite that many here, but we do have a great deal of specially selected fantastic wines at different price levels, and they’re all superb. We also have lots of unique tipples, including an 1899 vintage cognac – only one exists in the world.

“We strive to create a place that makes you feel good, where you are looked after and the service and product you receive are second to none. A lifetime of stories will come to show on your plate, in your drink and from the service you receive.”

Pictures of Jesper Callisen, outside his restaurant and serving wine at a tasting session.

As well as being a champion flare bartender, Jesper Callisen is a qualified sommelier and holds wine-tasting evenings.

Jesper’s Bar & Kitchen marks the start of a long-awaited dream for Jesper, who runs it with his wife, Kelly. He said:

“We have been looking for the  perfect place to open something like this for  many years. We didn’t want to stay abroad and wanted to find a place where we call home. My wife, who has family that live in the surrounding area, loves the warmth and friendliness of Yorkshire people, so we came here. And she’s right about the people – they’ve made us feel very welcome.”

Jesper’s Bar & Kitchen will be holding events throughout the year, including wine tastings, cocktail masterclasses, live music, themed dinners and lounge sessions, and soon, Jesper’s will be serving street food tapas for lunch and in the bar in the evenings. This will be in addition to the restaurant offering in the upstairs dining area.

“This restaurant means the world to us, and we are just so lucky to be able to share it with such a wonderful community. Some customers have already become friends.”

“This is absolutely what I want to do,” he says. “It started when I was four years old, and now we’re here.

Find out more:

Jesper’s Bar & Kitchen is open every day except Tuesdays; for opening times, visit the website, www.jespersbarandkitchen.co.uk.

To reserve a table or enquire about booking a private function, call 01423 552844 or book online.


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