One evening, while chatting over dinner and drinks at a pub owned by my friend, she spoke to us about some of her challenges faced running the pub. The lack of trained and experienced staff was always an issue. In the F&B industry good service staff is difficult to find and even harder to hold on to. She was also in the throes of a major renovation then which left her with little time managing the constant stream of customers coming in.
The pub’s crowded every evening, and the crowd was a good mix of regular customers who lived in the area as well as customers who came straight from work as their offices were located nearby. I liked the fact that the pub was a cosy hangout, and I could walk in without make-up, dressed in a t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops, propped myself at the bar and used it as my cosy “office space” to complete my Tarot readings via email, while I enjoyed a glass of red wine.
My friend asked if Joel could help out at the pub in the evenings after school. I wasn’t too keen on that idea particularly when a) Joel needed to put his head down to get through this course and graduate without any drama and b) I didn’t want him to work for free by spending his hard-earned money at the pub on glass and tableware that I foresee he would be breaking throughout his stint serving at the pub,.
So Joel didn’t get past his interview with me for the job as head bartender. However, out of concern for my dear friend who had grown up with me since school days, and partly because I thought it was a good idea to temporarily get the hubby out of my hair in the evenings so that I could take on more Tarot reading appointments, I decided to “pimp” David out to my friend to take on the role proudly as the new head bartender.
Now, David has a full time job. He runs a business which sees him meeting clients, managing interviews and working on new business pitches and client presentations on a daily basis. So time is a scarcity for him apart from week nights. When I was persuading him to help my friend out, I was half expecting him to dismiss the idea as one of my looney attempts to get him out of my hair. It was not very far from the truth.
In actual fact, David had no say in the idea apart from a slight grunt. When he was studying at Napier University, he used to spend his evenings after lectures working at his local. I convinced him that this was no different. The pub was down the road from our home, I was there often to do my Tarot readings anyway, I even used the pub as my base to do creative agency briefings and I am there for dinner at least once a week. So I persuaded David to do my friend a favor and work the “Gordon Ramsay” magic on the operational issues at her pub. After all, it was just for a bit of fun in the evenings from Monday to Friday. He was making best use of his time helping someone, while getting a bit of fitness in his life too as he walks to the pub from home and back.
Thankfully, David agreed to it because like his time spent on being the lead guitarist at his band, or his time spent doing photography work at rugby and soccer games, he felt this stint at the pub was Reliving His Youth.
Happy Days At Happy Daze
My friend’s pub is called Happy Daze. This was quite aptly named because she always looked like she was in a daze. In fact, most of us looked like we were always in a daze then, stumbling through school quite haphazardly. However the best decision she had ever made, was to turn this little corner of our neighborhood which was previously a second-hand book store called NIB, into a lucrative pub.
We had so many wonderful memories of NIB. I used to rent books from there with stories about the Famous Five, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. When I was slightly older and fancied a handsome prince coming to sweep me off my feet and into the sunset, I rented stacks of Barbara Cartland books. Then, Barbara Cartland was porn to me. I felt that I had grown up whenever I read about how the main character in the book would get her hair caressed and how she would feel her nipples hardened just by a single kiss. Wow! That was explosive for an 11 year old. Sadly, 33 years later, I confronted the reality that there was no such thing as a mind-blowing, nipple-hardening kiss, particularly when Law and Order, CSI Miami and NCIS were on the list of must-watch programs every night.
So that second-hand book store was the hallmark of my Happy Days as a child. My friend did well to preserve that memory somewhat by opening a pub in its place. Well, at least she maintained the grumpiness and eccentric character of the second hand bookstore owner. Every time one complained about being served soggy chips or cold baked beans on toast, she would growl at the person and bark, “It’s edible in’it?” It was comforting to know that nothing has changed too much.
The New Angmo Bar Supervisor
I am glad to report that David’s stint at Happy Daze for the past few weeks had been filled with plenty of laughter. His presence at the pub drew a lot of buzz. One customer asked “Who’s that new Angmo (a commonly used slang for a Caucasian in Singapore) bartender?. Another customer quipped,” I did not realize Happy Daze had a new boss.” Yet another said, “Perhaps he was hired to cater to the growing population of fellow Angmos living in the area.” So he was met with these reactions from customers which really made him laugh. He recounted how he had helped retrain the bar staff, taught them how to make proper mojito fresh from scratch and not use the pre-mixed mojito. He taught them how to do a proper Tequila Sunrise. He also taught them how to make basic Irish coffee. The staff there were amazed by his skills behind the bar. Like I mentioned before, he was reliving his youth. He also reorganized the layout of the bar such that the bar staff had better access to the variety of drinks and even did a review of the kitchen.
He became fast friends with a bar staff who was a Chinese national. It was quite fun to watch them attempt to converse meaningfully because one spoke little English and the other had a broad Scottish accent. He became fast friends with some of the customers who lived around the neighborhood and was sorely missed when he couldn’t help out at the pub on weekends.
David is still having fun nightly at the pub. I am there about twice a week to do my Tarot readings there. Often our friends come around to meet us there for drinks too. My friend had such a weird sense of humour too and decided to hang a parrot mobile up at the bar counter to signify that Sun Goddess Tarot was in the house, every time I showed up. Moreover, the bar and service staff were often thrilled every time I shuffled my Tarot cards or did a numerological assessment for them.
I am conscious though that David maintains his focus on his day job as a headhunter. Reliving his youth as a photographer, guitarist and head bartender is okay if it helped him take away the stress of his day job and added a bit of excitement in his life. We often joked that Happy Daze should rebrand itself into Happy Dave because that is that little bit of light he had brought to the place.
My friend should feel blessed. Do visit this quaint little pub, Happy Daze, if you want to try one of David's to-die-for Oreo milkshakes. It is located in Singapore at a small residential area called Serangoon Gardens.
About the writer:
The writer of this blog post is a 43 year old mother of one, who spreads her time between her day job as a marketeer at a financial institution, her hobby as a certified professional tarot reader and numerologist, and her family which includes a 19 year old son. She's married to a Scot who has been affectionately called "The Crazy AngMo" and prays that he does not find out that the term when translated, has labeled him as a "Ginger Head".