SLICE OF LIFE: Beer Garden’s where it’s at
Tue, May 01, 2012 - 12:00 AM
We were invited to the Bajan Beer Garden in the Garden, St James with the assurance that it would be a great place to relax and unwind.
After a hard week’s work, with any residual stress, that was the ideal spot.
We arrived there one Friday night after ten o’clock to find a mixed crowd of males and females. The atmosphere was a little laid back at first with the patrons sitting quietly at their tables or at the bar imbibing what seemed to be mainly beer and wine mixed with energy drinks.
Soon, the food was gradually flowing from the kitchen to satisfy the patrons’ appetites which seemed to grow stronger as the night wore on.
The fare from the kitchen for the night included octopus (“sea cat”), pork chops, baked and fried chicken, a scaled down menu from the offering of lunch which includes rice and peas, shepherd’s pie, cou cou and flying fish and scalloped potatoes.
We soon focused on the female dominance on display.
First, there was the proprietor, Cris Ellis, whose story of determination was compelling. She told us of having been an employee of a well-known greetings card establishment and her yearning to be her own boss. Her entrepreneurial instincts kept prodding her, leading to an enquiry about the property which now houses the Bajan Beer Garden.
At that time, the building was unoccupied but the owner was disinclined to consider leasing or renting to anyone. As the story unfolded, she recounted seeking her husband’s assistance in persuading the owner to rent it to her to conduct business.
Her supportive husband, Matthew, has kept by her side, quietly, unobtrusively, keeping an eye to ensure his wife fulfils her dream. Family members are also lending a hand. Sister Leah Ellis and cousin Vincentia Isadore are keeping the bar lively as they attract patrons with their pleasant disposition and friendly nature.
The karaoke operator also told her story of entrepreneurship. Lisa “Dolly Parton” Bowen, who has been an active karaoke enthusiast as competitor/singer and operator for more than 14 years, expressed pleasure at running her own karaoke set after working for various operators over the years.
“Dolly”, as she is affectionately called, is an outstanding performer who has won various karaoke competitions over the years and has also shone in other national singing contests with her Dolly Parton sound-alike voice.
The sweet-singing female karaoke singers also held prominence although a few of the males made a good showing.
In the dancing competition, the women also held sway. With superb rhythm and precision, the unpretentious women relished every minute, unconcerned about the attention they were receiving from the males and females who enjoyed every moment of the showcase.
The men had their moment in time when the fun-loving, outgoing proprietor Cris decided to offer a prize for the person to drink five shots in two minutes. The winner, who preferred not to be named, completed the feat in much less than two minutes. He looked quite comfortable with his victory.
A gracious hostess, who interacted well with her patrons, and added her full measure to the entertainment package as a singer of outstanding talent using her voice and body language to give full impact to the songs of choice.
That was the fitting description for Cris who topped the night off by singing a song in tribute to her husband.
The spirit of the Bajan Beer Garden was filled with an abounding love that seemed to flow from proprietor to patrons and among the patrons themselves.
This quaint welcoming entertainment spot had lived up to its reputation.
It was indeed a great place to unwind while witnessing a community spirit that pervaded the atmosphere.
- Editor's Choice