We Asked 6 Malaysian Bar Owners What It Takes To Be Successful. Here's What They Said

It's not as easy as it looks.

Cover image via ITAT Food Magazine

Being able to own your own bar sounds pretty cool

You get to be your own boss, organise great events at your place, and most importantly - you get booze whenever you want it.

Guinness recently ran a recruitment drive to find aspiring bar owners to run three pop-up bars for a month. The contest sounds exciting, but it also makes us wonder how is it like to really run a bar.

So we asked a few bar owners to share what they would like those who dream of owning one to know:

1. "Practically every customer is your boss"

"One word: DON'T. Unless you are ready to trade your drinking hobby into modern day slavery. It’s all about getting your hands dirty with a passion to serve. If you think having one a**hole boss is bad enough, imagine a world where practically every customer is your boss. The cool factor of owning a bar is nothing but perception."

Kent Chua, Founder of The Beer Factory

2. "Don't let the wildest of ideas scare you"

"Don't let the wildest of ideas scare you. Just because no one has done it before doesn't mean the concept can't work. You gotta believe in yourself, because if you don't who else will?"

Jenny Wong, Co-founder of The Rabbit Hole

Image via The Rabbit Hole
Image via The Rabbit Hole
Image via The Rabbit Hole
Image via The Rabbit Hole
Image via TripAdvisor

3. "Concentrate on your service"

"Work hard on your aim and never look back. Concentrate on your service as it's the KEY to success in any F&B outlet."

Robert Leo, Co-owner of 87 Restaurant & Bar

4. Just two words...

"Change business!"

Mei-Li Tan & Ek Urairat, Owners of The Social

Image via TripAdvisor
Image via The Social
Image via The Social
Image via The Social
Image via TripAdvisor

5. "Monkey see, monkey do"

"Monkey see, monkey do" is the best advice I can give anyone keen to start their own bar. Treat it as a business and not your playground. Your team and guests will treat the place with the similar respect."

Tai Yong Phoa, Owner of Nagaba KL

Image via EDMDroid
Image via JUICE Malaysia
Image via Nagaba KL
Image via Fave
Image via Nagaba KL

6. "A little gusty attitude is necessary"

"If we could offer some words of wisdom, they definitely begin with selecting the right location, having a unique selling point to differentiate yourself from competitors, knowing your target audience, and last but not least, total business cost management.

There are also many other aspects to which help contribute to a successful restaurateur. However so, sometimes even after all the research is done, a little gusty attitude is necessary to ensure you are able to carve out your very own niche market as opposed to following the norms of the market."

Danney Dick Damison, Manager of Bosko Restaurant & Bar

Image via TripAdvisor
Image via TripAdvisor
Image via TripAdvisor
Image via Shanny See

Guinness will be helping three lucky Malaysians bring their dream Bright Bars to life

In conjunction with the launch of Guinness Bright, Guinness will be helping these three Malaysians run their own bars. We're confident that the chosen contestants will be ready to run their Guinness Bright Bars with these tips from experienced bar owners and the help they'll be getting from Guinness.

The pop-up bars will be opened on 27-29 July, 3-5 August, 10-12 August, and 17-19 August at the following locations:

MONO @ The Square, Jaya One, Petaling Jaya
Opened by Miranda Yeoh, MONO will be an open-concept bar with a warehouse-like interior.

HA!HA!HA! @ Lava Bistro, Johor Bahru
This pop-up bar will be run by Eduardo, who dreams of having a bar that people can enjoy and leave feeling happier.

Bunker Camp 57 @ Automall, Penang
Thash dreams of opening a bar that combines military and patriotism, where everyone will feel a sense of belonging there.

Do drop by and show your support to the winners. If you haven't tried the new Guinness Bright, there'll also be free bottles of Guinness Bright* up for grabs!

*While stocks last. Only for non-Muslims aged 18 and above.

Find out more about the Guinness Bright pop-up bars here

Thirsty? Have a drink in one of these bars: