by The Merry Men Group

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Full ST article

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
Tel: 6735-9667

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.”

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Straits Times Feature! (10 Oct 2010)

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!

The Merry Men go abroad!

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!

Typical weekend afternoon

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!


Business Times Review! (4 Sept 2010)

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!

Launched!

Safe to say, the soft launch was a success! Our family and friends turned out in full force to support us, and we had a great time.

Our awesome staff spent most of the afternoon preparing and praying for good weather

The Merry Men’s job was to drink lots, which they successfully accomplished thanks to many many years of practice!

The outdoor seating was a big hit

After all, who wouldn’t like the view?

We managed to serve some food so we could get feedback–thanks for being our guinea pigs, guys!

It was great hanging out with friends, both old and new

We had an awesome time hanging out with family and friends. Big thank you for your support!

We hope to see you again! Here’s to many more great nights at The Merry Men!

Good night!

(Photos courtesy of Paul Tan)

For more photos and updates, please join our Facebook group!

Soft launch!

Soft launch confirmed!

Date: 20 Aug (Fri)
Time: 9pm — late
Address:
86 Robertson Quay, #01-02 (below Robertson Blue condo, opposite river from River View Hotel)

We’ll be screening the football match so come early to grab a good spot if you’re interested!

We’re only launching the bar so no food yet. 😦 Installing the new aircon delayed the opening of the kitchen sadly; would have been nice to launch the kitchen at the same time. But kitchen should be up and running by next week, fingers crossed!