Late in life I’m being convinced of the desirability of winning Raving Fans if you’re in the business of attracting paying customers. This is an ethos within Energie Fitness where we try to go the extra mile and exceed expectation.

Tonight I set off on a little bar crawl around Waterford, which ultimately consisted of just two pubs. Both had been recommended to me by one of my fitness club trainers.

First up was Katty Barry’s, about three minutes stroll from my flat. What a gem – a real blokey pub with a darts board, open fire, discrete juke box, sport on the telly, a cheap (€3.95) pint and regular OK guys sat up at the bar. No frills, just a straightforward Irish boozer, very much in the country tradition.

Then a climb up to Alfie Hale’s on Ballybricken Green. This may be where I want to spend the rest of my days. On entering, the bar is warm and welcoming. It is (as are many Irish bars) much bigger than would appear from the exterior. Subdued lighting, dark furniture and fittings, it nevertheless is obvious that the proprietor has tricked it out at some expense. Everything about it is quality, but at once giving a relaxing ambience.

I order my pint and a packet of Dry Roasted Nuts. The little barmaid says she’ll check in the back for the Dry Roasted but I say Salted will be fine. Five minutes later a complimentary packet of Dry Roasted is plonked on my table. The walls of this first section of the bar are covered with classy black-and-white photos of film stars – Judy Garland, Shirley Temple, James Stewart, John Wayne, Micky Rooney and dozens of others. There is seating suitable for both large groups and lone drinkers in this well-designed bar. The gents is uber-hygienic and fresh-smelling and has framed posters publicising long-ago films. The far end of the bar is devoted to sporting photos and memorabilia, harking back to Alfie’s professional soccer playing days.

As I leave the place is filling up – I’m not surprised.

Put me down as a Raving Fan.

Advertisements