In the tenth instalment of #MensFolioMeets — a weekly column where we interview who’s who and who’s in the know — we speak to Jia Wei, bar manager of Employees Only Singapore (EOSG).
A New Year’s resolution to hit the gym everyday? We’ll give you a maximum of one month before you start slothing out. A sudden jolt to start bullet journaling? Sure, whatever floats your boat.
Instead of sticking to resolutions that crumble like happiness once you wake up tomorrow on the first day of work in the new year, Men’s Folio recommends a simple one — be a better bar guest this year and Jia Wei, Bar Manager of EOSG delivers some simple but solid advice.
Congratulations on being promoted to bar manager of EOSG, what was the first thing you did when you received it?
I had flashbacks to my first interview in 2016, my first day at work ever, on 14 June 2016 and fast forward to the present. I definitely put in effort into every single day, to perfect my craft.
Two days before EOSG started operation, I’d just ORD-ed from the Singapore Armed Forces. After just a day of rest, I started work and have continued working till today.
In fact, one of the first few days of EOSG opening was especially challenging. Our bar fridges were not in yet and we were packed from the door to the toilet. Imagine all our staff had to get the drinks out, stock up glasses or ice in such a packed environment. It was an absolute nightmare!
I’ve always taken pride in being the first in and the last out. Every working day, I’d be the first to come in and prepare for the day of operations and close it for next day, to set up.
Do bartenders really get pissed when customers go “oh, surprise me”, ehat should they ask for instead?
Some do. 5% of the EO customers will sit down at the bar, without reading the menu and say surprise me. 90% of customers are couples. 10% purely want to explore and taste what we provide.
For me, it depends. If at that point of time the bar is not busy I’d love to take up the challenge. What I always do is something I am planning for the next menu. So, at all times there is R&D going on my mind and it’s always different. But, you know if the bar is busy then… [laughs]
Do men really need to avoid fruity drinks or is this a rule that the #patriachy should stop imposing on people?
No, no one should avoid any drinks due to gender. Be free and follow your heart and drink, don’t be bothered what others think. Drink what you love!
I remembered that one time in my first year, a couple ordered an Old Fashioned and an Amelia. I assumed that Old Fashioned must have been the guy’s order. Well, lesson learnt — I will ask before placing the order in front of them.
What is your number one song on Spotify and why?
Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody — not sure why but this song makes me feel relaxed and calm. I blast it while I’m driving alone in the car and have a solo concert — when no one’s looking.
We’re going to question this — what is your number one hangover food?
Kimchi Soup from 3 Meals A Day in Bukit Timah or any warm spicy soup really. Soups are super hydrating and it’s my main source of water intake, especially when I’m running around all day.
I love eating spicy food as it is an effective hangover cure! I think the perspiration-inducing effect gets rid of the alcohol I consumed during the day.
P.S. This question is making me hungry.
What is a severely underrated cocktail in your books?
A Mata Hari. This has been in EO’s classic drinks list since 2004. It is a Cognac drink with pomegranate and house-made Chai Vermouth. I wish more people would give cognac a chance and explore outside of their comfort zone.
The scenario: a house party we’re throwing; the brief: A cocktail that pleases everybody; how does one solve the latter?
Understand your party audience. Important questions include — What do they want? What do they feel like having? From that understanding, play around with different ingredients and add your personal flair to it.
Every individual has their preference of flavours and spirits, so this is where you can add your personal touch too. More importantly, go the extra mile to make them feel good and comfortable.
What spirit do you think people should drink more of?
Agave Spirits because it is not just for shots! Agave spirits also have a lot of flavours that can be appreciated. Just like aged whiskey, smoky Mezcal is also great!
Monkey 47 Barrel Cut is also a new dry gin with subtle fruity notes and fine, elegant sweetness that is an experience that still stays true to its roots, but with added complexity!
What is something you wish more bar guests would realise?
Explore and understand every different bar concept you can go to and find the one you love most. Observe the design, the music, the drinks selection, the awards or even the bartender. Find the one that you love and spread the love!