At your service

Spotong chats to leading liquor traders

Phambkwendlu Inn

Owner: Lawrence Ntimbani

Organisation: NTHA

I make sure that there is always water available so they can alternate their drinks. I also never serve to anyone who has already had too much to drink.

Location: 737 Forbes Road, Zone 6, Meadowlands

How did you get into the tavern trade?

I started in 2008 without any papers and I remember the police closed my business twice while I was operating illegally. Shortly after that, I got my tavern license and things grew from there.

What challenges do you face in this industry?

My main challenge is the lack of safety in our trade. A few months ago, a group of guys tried to rob me after hours. Luckily, I was able to hide and no-one was hurt. I employ security but they don’t have guns and we are always on edge because we are targeted by criminals. I even have to sell my liquor through burglar bars to protect myself, staff and patrons.

How do you encourage your patrons to drink responsibly and how do you handle difficult patrons?

I make sure that there is always water available so they can alternate their drinks. I also never serve to anyone who has already had too much to drink. For those who do find themselves too drunk in my tavern, I have a “drunk people’s corner” in my home where I allow them to have a nap and sober up before they can join in the fun again.

How do you prepare your tavern for the bumper holiday season?

I make contact with the breweries and order my beer stock well in advance so I am fully-stocked in both December and January. I also start planning my ladies nights and festive parties during November and come up with drink specials so I can attract more patrons during the busiest season.

Wilson’s Place

Owner: Wilson Ndoweni

Organisation: NTHA

Location: 197A Thiri Street, Meadowlands

 How did you get into the tavern trade?

I was employed until 1999 but I lost my job. It as a blessing in disguise because I love working for myself and I am very happy that I started my tavern all those years ago.

What challenges do you face in this industry?

My biggest challenge would be the rude customers that I have to put up with sometimes. Thankfully, they are not my regulars so I don’t have to see them every day. Not everyone follows the rules of my tavern and that is a pity!

Do you have future plans for your tavern?

Yes, it is my dream to make my tavern much bigger by renovating. I want to separate and enlarge the areas where you can eat meals and drink and my entertainment area where I play my music.

How do you give back to your community?

I love the Meadowlands community and we are always assisting each other and especially those in need. I give back by assisting with funerals – whether it is donating money or offering my tavern for prayers – and I everyone knows that they can borrow cash from me!