Best Staff, Best Bars

Dennis
Rose and Crown Pub on 4th Street SW

How long have you worked in the industry?

Since 1979 — 36 years now.

How has your role evolved in that time?

My role has shifted over the years. I used to partake more on the social side. Now I’m on the business end of things. I setup and organize the big functions. I’m no longer here until 2 o’clock in the morning. I make sure the band is set up and the food is set up, the reservations are ready to go and the waitress and bartenders are prepped. I give them all the tools they need.

What has kept you in the industry all this time?

I think a certain love for people. It’s like having a party and having a buddy over, supplying the food, the drinks, the music, the bands, and the entertainment. But at the end of the night everybody leaves and you get to go home.

Things must have changed a fair bit in 36 years. I heard you once say that it was like the Wild West in the past. Can you share what you meant by that?

I worked on Electric Avenue. It was a big thing in the ‘80s. There weren’t a lot of drop-ins by the liquor board, the fire department, or the safety inspectors. If you wanted to serve beer for a nickel and stay open late you could. I remember one bar’s happy hour special was five for the price of one.

There was no one really around to regulate unless there was a giant problem. It was very much reactionary in the past. But that was the ‘80s, it was bananas and not in a good way.

How has the Best Bar None program helped you in your role as general manager?

Now that it’s coming from a government run program like Best Bar None, I can say not only are these rules coming from me, they are also encouraged from our governing body. They say ‘you are responsible for handling the liquor properly, handling the food properly, and looking out for the patrons.” It’s like somebody is backing me up; we are on the same team. I know what the right thing to do is, but it is sure nice to tell my employees that they have to take the course and pass in order to work here. It encourages the staff to pay more attention to how we care for our patrons.