We have a lot to be grateful for, and we’d like to dedicate this post to all our family and friends who have been supporting us for the past few months.
Thank you to those of you who made it a point to visit us as soon as possible upon landing in Singapore; thank you to those of you who make it down to our little corner of Robertson Quay multiple times each week, visiting more often than some of the Merry Men; thank you to those who have been spreading the word far and wide, recommending us to other friends. Thank you, thank you, thank you! The Merry Men is thriving because of all of you. 🙂
For those of you who haven’t been back in a while, The Merry Men now looks quite different from the first few weeks we were open. We decided to decorate slowly, carefully picking and choosing each piece. We wanted each item to have a story that we could share, a memory we would enjoy reliving when someone asked.
We’re very thankful with how The Merry Men is slowly transforming into the place we’ve dreamed about but had trouble pinning down in words for so long!
We’re happiest with this little wall, which really helps to make the place feel more cozy and lived-in. We’re still debating what to do with the big white wall and the grey brick wall–too many ideas, we’ve having difficulty choosing!
We’re also very thankful for the great turnout thus far. We’ve been quite packed for a new F&B venue, but after the ST article was published, turnout practically doubled!
Eugene and the boys were caught by surprise quite a few evenings. There have been several nights when we had two seatings for dinner, and even on weekdays! Some nights, even the towkays have to wait tables and clear dishes.
Despite the haze, many people prefer sitting outside, enjoying the night breeze and the view.
The promotions have been well-received, and we’re planning to add to our line-up of wines and cocktails! Do let us know if you have strong opinions about new wines or beers you think we should offer. 🙂
Finally, we’re thankful that we finally have some luck with staffing and have hired another cook! A typical kitchen would have at least four people: a chef, an assistant chef and two cooks (typically, most would also have a supervisor). For the first four weeks, we were surviving with ONE CHEF. We managed to get a cook but poor Leonard and Jan have been working themselves to the bone trying to keep our customers well-fed and happy for the past four weeks. So we’re very very happy that we’ve finally managed to hire more cooks!
Can you guess who’s the new guy? 🙂
More hands in the kitchen is fantastic news because this means we can finally roll out our long-awaited brunch menu!!! We’ve been planning it since June and it’s been really painful having to wait and wait and wait thanks to the lack of capacity… We’re crossing our fingers and hoping everything is good to go by mid-November!
So once again, a big thank you for your support! 🙂 We hope The Merry Men has been keeping you merry and we welcome any feedback and suggestions for improvement. We have a page on Hungry Go Where
and would love to hear what you have to say about us!
Finally, a picture of all the Merry Men together
They had a lot of fun hanging out together, just like old times
Can’t wait until everyone’s back together again!
(All photos courtesy of Paul Tan)
Finally found the soft copy of our ST article. Didn’t manage to find the main article though!
TRUST THE MERRY MEN FOR GOODIES
The Straits Times, 10 Oct 2010
EUGENE FUNG, SHAWN HENG, DANIEL SONG AND SAM NG
Age: All 29
What: The Merry Men, river-facing bar-restaurant serving cocktails and food
Where: 86 Robertson Quay, 01-02
Opening hours: Sundays, 3pm to midnight, Mondays to Thursdays, 5pm to midnight, Fridays, 5pm to 1am, Saturdays, 3pm to 2am
Friends since their secondary school days at Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), these men have seen one another grow from grubby school boys into working professionals.
Having worked for several years now, in industries ranging from banking and management consulting to law and physiotherapy, the four friends pooled their savings to start The Merry Men despite the fact that none has any experience in the food and beverage industry.
The $500,000 bar-cum-restaurant in Robertson Quay opened in August this year.
Mr Eugene Fung, who gave up his corporate finance job to oversee the day- to-day operations of the bar, says: “It was always something we had talked about when we were growing up.
“We thought that if we were going to drink somewhere, we would want to drink at a place we could call our own.”
Only two of the four partners – Mr Fung and Mr Shawn Heng, a consultant – are based in Singapore. Lawyer Daniel Song lives in Melbourne and physiotherapist Sam Ng lives in Perth.
In fact, Mr Song has not even seen the bar, let alone step foot in it.
So just as Robin Hood’s merry men depend on one another, these partners say trust is one of the most important pillars of their business.
Despite the physical distance, they discuss concepts and direction for their business over the telephone and through e-mail because “every idea matters”.
Mr Fung says they consulted other friends in the food and beverage industry before embarking on their dream.
He adds: “It has been a steep learning curve with everything from staffing to construction, but it is a very exciting one with a lot more fun times along the way.”
Second feature article!
This came as a big surprise to us. We had hoped for a ST review, but didn’t act on it because we thought we weren’t ready. So when the ST journalist called, it was a pleasant surprise. Again, big thank you to kind friends for recommending us. We’re very grateful!
Eugene and Shawn are still getting used to being interviewed–getting a decent photo took longer than the interview, and Shawn still isn’t pleased with this photo!–but hopefully, they’ll get more experience. 😉 It’s strange to be referred to as ‘entrepreneurs’ and no, we didn’t spend half a million dollars setting up The Merry Men!
For now, all we have is a snapshot, but scanned copy will be coming soon!
Sorry for the lack of updates, the Merry Men have been quite busy of late.
One of the Merry Men flew to London to propose…
And all the Merry Men gathered in Melbourne for a wedding! Daniel is now one of the Merry Men and a married man (yes, we heard a lot of that pun).
(Wedding photos courtesy of awesome photographer, Colin Cheng)
Travelling has been a great excuse for us to indulge in what we do best—eat, drink, and be merry! There was a lot of indulging in good food and chilling out at cool bars in the name of market research.
Lots of road tripping as we drove to Dalesford for the wedding and back
We shopped for The Merry Men—who knew decorating could be so much fun? We’ve been slowly adding more pieces to the place. Come check it out if you haven’t been recently!
Loved shopping for fresh food—wish we had something similar in Singapore, even if that would mean our waistlines expanding rapidly!
We bought a huge stash of food even though we only had 3 more days…
Super tempted to franchise this awesome cupcake store. Daniel and Kym gave these cupcakes as their wedding favours and I singlehandedly finished 3 in a sitting (and 2 more the next morning). Definitely rivals Mockingbird Bakery & Magnolia Bakery!
We revisited their favourite haunts from uni days. Being Singaporeans, most of these were restaurants.
Daniel brought us to some of the best restaurants in Melbourne—tapas at Movida was to die for!
Tried a 3-hat restaurant! Sadly, wasn’t good enough for us to remember the name.
We also hung out alot at Melbourne’s famous cafes and bars
And tried to walk off those extra calories by exploring Melbourne!
Was awesome just hanging out with the whole group. Almost full attendance!
It was great fun taking a break, especially for Eugene who’s been holding the fort most of the time. We were also almost happy to see that other businesses also run in crazy problems as evidenced by this photo:
Basically, it was pouring in Melbourne and water had collected in the awning of this rooftop bar. Unfortunately, by the time the staff spotted it, a crazy amount of water had collected and was so heavy that it was threatening to bring the awning crashing down. It was also so heavy that it took 4 people with 4 brooms and a lot of strategizing before they managed to push it off. The whole effort kept us entertained for nearly half an hour! (Though it wouldn’t have been that amusing if it did break and the water came splashing down on us…)
September and October have been incredible for us, and we can’t wait to see the rest of the year!
Since the idea of opening The Merry Men germinated, we’ve spent nearly every weekend (and most free evenings) working on it. Most weekends have been a whirlwind of activity, as we run around finishing errands, picking up items, meeting people.
This weekend, we had to go furniture shopping again because we’ve had so many customers that we’ve ran out of seating! It was a happy problem that unfortunately demanded a not-so-happy solution: furniture shopping at Ikea.
Ikea wasn’t ideal, but we were desperate since we needed furniture ASAP for the F1 screening. Hunting down enough pieces of suitable items was like an episode of The Amazing Race, as we dashed from section to section, testing out the furniture and then racing to reserve it before it sold out. And all within a tight time limit since we needed to set up the furniture before the crowd came in that evening!
But the true test came when we had to collect the furniture…
Patience was never the boys’ strong suit.
After a long wait, we realized Ikea couldn’t deliver it so we had to transport it ourselves… in a GTI and a Latio. It was quite the test given how much we’d bought!
At first, the guys contemplated taking turns carrying everything over, but that idea was soon nixed.
So we decided to commandeer Ikea’s shopping carts. The boys had to maneuver very full shopping carts to our cars…
While the girls manned the fort…
Whoever said a towkay’s life is easy clearly wasn’t referring to us…
Fitting everything into two cars required teamwork: Eugene doing the heavy lifting while Shawn supervised.
But there was a little disagreement about the division of labour…
We finally managed to squeeze everything in: yay for hatchbacks!
And we even managed to squeeze ourselves in, just barely.
And that’s just one of the many things we did that weekend! Running your own business basically means doing everything yourself, but that’s what the boys enjoy!
Our first review! Even though we haven’t even officially launched. Very grateful for supportive friends who’ve been eagerly spreading the word and dragging other friends down–THANK YOU!