A fondness for outdoor sports led Jake Riha from the Czech Republic to Vancouver, and a lifelong love of true hospitality pointed him straight toward Boulevard.
Riha’s story of how he wound up on the West Coast is a familiar one: after visiting Vancouver for a summer vacation well over a decade ago, he decided he would move here one day, just for a year. That was nine years ago.
While his career here has since flourished, Riha’s experience in the industry goes much further back, to the point where he was first able to get a job.
“I studied Hospitality Management in Prague, but I have been working in hospitality pretty much my whole life,” Riha says. “I was able to try all different roles our industry offers, from working in the kitchen and serving to bartending and being a sales rep. But tending the bar was where I felt the most comfortable.
“I have a passion for learning and exploring what’s behind every cocktail, product, and distillery,” he adds, “and then sharing those stories with patrons and colleagues.”
Prior to joining Boulevard, Riha held roles at several respected Vancouver establishments, including Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, Cacao Restaurant, and Nightingale.
His dream was to work at a place known for taking the guest experience to exceptional new heights and with it, his own education and growth. He found that elevated vision at Boulevard.
“I love working with one of the best teams in the city,” Riha says. “Our award-winning kitchen team and great management push me to try to be better every day. In the past I was fortunate to work with great bar managers and learn a lot from them. Now I have the chance to put in place all that knowledge and put my own spin on it.”
When Riha isn’t skiing, surfing, climbing, hiking, or playing tennis or lacrosse, he’s finding ways to up his game behind the stick. He’s currently studying for his Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 3, an advanced-level qualification for professionals working with wine, and he is delving deeper into his technical knowledge of the complex world of spirits.
“I love being able to work with some great industry professionals and having the chance to learn from them,” Riha says.