Adventures in the Town House

After arranging to spend a quiet Saturday evening carrying out a shift behind the bar at the Town House, Llandudno, my colleague from North Wales Police, Aaron Haggis let me know I would be on my own, his excuse, his wife had just had a baby, not the best excuse, but as Savanah Harper was only a few hours old I let him off.

Arriving at 8:30 I was given the obligatory health and safety briefing, a staff shirt and told were the tips jar was, then it was down to the cellar so I could top up the ice, fill all the fridges and most importantly fill the mop bucket.

Then down to mop the toilets, fill all the toiletries and ancillary’s, then how to use the till, after 15 minutes Mike the Bar Manager gave up and showed were the glass washer was, I had found my niche, and who knew this was the most important job in the pub. The quiet night started to become less quiet, as the live band set up followed by a host of groupies, at this point members of staff, from a number of other premises in Llandudno showed up to give me some encouragement, I didn’t know I had so many nicknames,

Then it got busy and I got hot, sweaty and irritable. Then a bag of swizzles and haribos magically appeared after a brief Scoff and being amazed by the amount of twenty pound notes being waved in my face, I found out one of the mysteries of keeping a good bar, Fresh lemons and fresh limes have to be sliced, but not by me, more glasses to clean and tables to clear.

After two hours and during a “quiet” period between the bands sets, I was allowed to pull a few pints and prepare a few Malibu’s, Sambuca’s and jaeger bombs all with very little success, back to mopping.

While having a quick break and fresh air, numerous security staff on their way to work and a few colleagues from North Wales Police passed by and admired my perfectly fitting staff shirt.

Then it was back into what I now was the busiest night of the year so far, after numerous mopping’s and breakages “usually caused by me”  It got to 1.30 am, time to close up , clean up inside and out, completing log books it was time for a 10 min wind down. Over J20s I was asked if I learnt anything by Becks an architecture student, after numerous anecdotes, I had learnt that, many of the excuses I have heard from landlords, DPSs and managers over the years don’t really hold water, and that a well briefed and enthusiastic team can check IDs even when its insanely busy, you can refuse to serve someone who has had too much and offer them a lemonade with Ice and a slice without any dramas, but most off all I learned that customers always stand in the gap at the bar, I am not as fit as I thought I was,  and its bloody hard graft behind the in front and behind the bar, it was time to thank everyone and go and look for my feet which had left two hours earlier.

John A Donnelly

Quote from Gareth Davies – Proprietor of Town House

Respect where it’s due, John did a fantastic job – thrown in at the deep end and on a Saturday night when it was really busy and he was a star. So much so that the staff want somebody every weekend to do what he did. Fair play, he took it seriously and was a great help.

Shhh…..don’t tell him though or he’ll want paying.

Purple Moose, Green Monkey’s, Americans and their Whiskey!

Vinomondo located in Conwy is what can only be described as my idea of “posh off licence heaven”.

Having recently completed a full variation of their licence, I thought it would be the perfect place to spend a relaxing day as part of National Licensing Week. Lovely and quiet….. or so I thought!

I arrived at 10am to be met by Iwan who looked at me with horror when I announced I was “Sam” from Licensing. “What have we done”? He gasped. “Nothing”, I replied “I’ve come to help”. So after a manic call to the DPS who reminded Iwan that I was “in the diary”, he set me to work!!

My first job of the day was to unpack around 180 bottles of craft beer that had just arrived. It became apparent that white linen trousers and sandals weren’t the best idea! After sorting the “Purple Moose from the Green Monkey and Wild Horse, it was time to hit the shop floor.

From a quick glance around and reading wine labels, it dawned on me that my knowledge of supermarket prosecco wasn’t going to save me here! I had to learn … and fast! So, I decided to start with Whiskey which turned out to be my forte. I homed in on the locally distilled “Penderyn Whiskeys” and set up the tasting corner (not for my consumption obviously!). My chance had come – a group of slightly over middle aged American tourists entered. They thought it was hilarious that I asked if they were all over 25 and checked that they weren’t driving. Safety first! It was then time to try before you buy!

15 minutes later I’d sold 5 bottles of Wales’s finest whiskey. I was described as being somebody who could sell sand to the Arabians.

For the rest of the day, I restocked the shelves, encouraged a few more whiskey sales and tinkered with the point of sales displays. I’d never have guessed how busy and how knowledgeable the staff are. Wine from the Lebanon, Single Malt from the furthest corner of the Scottish Isles and Marmalade Gin from a back garden in England, the staff have the finest knowledge of it all. All that whilst promoting the licensing objectives and contributing to the local economy. I thoroughly enjoyed my day through the eyes of a licence holder and look forward to participating next year. In fact, we have had an offer from our Trading Standards team to take part too!