All change for The Wednesday Night Mothers Club

Wednesday nights at the pub

Wednesday nights at the pub

Since 1993, a group of my friends have generally been found at the pub on Wednesday nights. The actual pub has changed a couple of times over the years and so has the composition of the group of friends. But some constants remain the same. Barring illness or being out of town, the ‘Wednesday Night Mothers Club’ (as we’ve been unkindly named by the manager of the pub) is always in session from about 5.30pm onwards. Sometimes there’s just 3 of us in the group, sometimes 6, 8 or 10. If someone is visiting from interstate or overseas, it can be even more.

Last night was no different. A longer session than usual, John and I were the last to leave at midnight or thereabouts. Out the back in the function room the weekly musos ‘jam session’ was happening. In the side bar (where we normally reside), some marketing people were demonstrating and trying to sell $7,000 beds.

Some week there’s a membership draw for the locals, other weeks not. The management of the hotel is quite flaky. We’ve learnt to be very independent. Although we’re fixtures at the place, the way we get treated by the bar staff varies from week to week and from barperson to bar person.

Quite recently we’ve had a big change in the bar staff and we’re all feeling a bit put out at the moment. For six months we had a perfect combination of bar staff – a manager and bar person who were brothers – Corey and Joel. Absolutely fantastic guys, really genuine and lovely. And they treated us really well. They delivered an ‘old style’ of pub hospitality – they knew our names, they knew what we liked to drink, they chatted with us and really made us feel special. And, after all, isn’t that the way it should be when you’re a regular at your local pub?

Over the years we’ve seen staff come and go and a lot of them haven’t been much chop. So we’ve been stoked to have Corey and Joel look after us every Wednesday night. Occasionally, if the pub was closing earlier than usual, we’d stay back and chat with them as they went about their ‘end of shift’ duties and cleaned up. They really made our Wednesday nights more fun and enjoyable.

A couple of weeks ago, Corey announced he was leaving. He’d been treated really shabbily by the senior management at the pub (happens to everyone who works there) and he’d had enough. He had a better job offer outside of the hospitality industry and he took it. Joel said he was going to continue on but the night after Corey left, Joel didn’t show up for work. He’d obviously decided he’d had enough too.

So last Wednesday night we walked in to a new Assistant Manager – a guy who’s father is a prominent State politician. And a new bar person – actually an old bar person who had returned. The Wednesday Night Mothers Club was quite out of sorts with the sudden departure of our two favourite pub boys. The new guy didn’t know what the prices were supposed to be, didn’t know how anything was supposed to work and was pretty much allover the place. To be fair, that’s because the senior manager is slack and doesn’t do the right thing in briefing new staff. But all in all, the last two weeks have been a bit of a shambles.

John’s not happy about the ex-bar staff who has returned. More than not happy actually. He had quite few words to say about it. He’s a creature of habit – he goes to the pub more than the rest of us do because it is just around the corner from where he lives. He usually pops in to have a couple on the way home from work. He likes the bar staff to serve him promptly, for the beer lines to be clean so the beer tastes good and for the drink prices to be consistent. Pretty reasonable expectations actually. Since Corey and Joel left, he hasn’t been happy with the service and when John’s not happy, we all know about it 😉

Wednesday night pub night has become more than a tradition – it’s become like a drop-in centre over the years for people we know in Sydney, for those passing through from interstate and for the occasional overseas visitor. Last year we had my friend Neil Hopwood from South Africa on two Wednesdays. The year before we had Gustav from Sweden, another long time friend, show up for a couple of sessions. The pub nights have gained a bit of reputation over the years because I used to write about them on an email list that I used to be involved with. We’ve also had people from the USA and the UK visit the pub in the last ten years.

Hopefully there’ll be many more Wednesday nights to go…good friends, good conversation, a lot of laughs and a refreshing beer…or two…or three 😉 When I’m having a crap week at work, the Wednesday night circuit-breaker stops me from going nuts and doing a Michael Douglas in ‘Falling Down’ 😉

I’m sure we’ll survive this latest round of changes at the pub. But we’ll always miss Corey and Joel. They were hospitality staff that really knew what hospitality is all about.

Gustav from Sweden with Donna and John on a Wednesday pub night

Gustav from Sweden with Donna and John on a Wednesday pub night

Another Swede visits pub night: Grant, Tony Becker, Dave, John & James

Another Swede visits pub night: Grant, Tony Becker, Dave, John & James

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