Happy Hours
My Life’s Happy Hours In Watering Holes

After a long hard day at work, all you want is to kick back, relax and forget your to-do lists. When the day finally ends, there are no better places to blow off steam, grab a beer and munch on bar bites than in one of the local watering holes, the perfect places to unwind and meet up with friends.

Socializing in pubs throughout my adult life, I have many experiences, both good and bad. The account below narrates my worst and my happiest encounters in two watering holes.

During my working life, for over thirty years, I spent many evenings in pubs, mainly in Petaling Jaya near my office in SS2. I went to pubs not because I was an alcoholic but to entertain clients, associates and friends. In pubs with them, I enjoyed their companionship and at the same time I was able to release the stress and pressure of work. I did not go pub crawling but frequented only one in each outing.


The worst experience I have encountered was in one of the pubs where my friends and I frequented after work and was a stone's throw away from the office. It was operated by a lady we knew as Mrs Kam (not her real name)

Due to our regular patronage, Mrs Kam even partitioned an area in the pub exclusively for our use. And we did enjoy many happy hours there.

One evening when we were in this pub for a short while, a storm started brewing and we decided to leave early after a couple of beer each.

As usual, I asked Mrs Kam for the bill. What surprised me was that the amount on the bill was almost the same as on the other days when we our consumption of beer was almost double.

When questioned, Mrs Kam was quick to point out to me that the bill could not be wrong as it was printed out from her electronic cash register. I took a closer look and discovered that the quantity consumed was correct but the total charged was wrong! I asked her to work it out again.

She immediately took the bill from me, took a casual look and said it was not for me but for another group of customers. But I couldn't see any other group of customers at that time.

Once bitten twice shy, we should have moved on to another pub after this incident. But no, we went back to the same pub as if Mrs Kam had put a spell on us.

Not too long after the wrong-bill episode, Mrs Kam herself did something to my first mug of beer.

As a rule, beer-drinkers would ensure that the beer served is fresh before consuming it by looking for the head and the bubbles. But that evening the glass of beer served to me by Mrs Kam was completely flat and devoid of bubbles. I told her about it and she took it away.

I followed her to the beer counter to see what she was going to do with it.

What surprised me was that, in my presence and without any hesitation, she scooped a couple of spoonful of beer foam from a jug near the beer dispenser and put them onto my glass of flat beer. I questioned her action and she told me, as a-matter-of-factly, that this was what she was doing to all the flat beer!

I lost my cool, told her that I was disgusted by the way she had treated us and stomped out of the pub. I thought that was the end of the episode and I was prepared to put it behind me for good.
But no. A few days after the incident, I got a message from my secretary saying that Mrs Kam had called and told me "to forget about the past and to go back to her"!

I was taken aback after reading the message and asked my secretary how the message came about. She told me that Mrs Kam had been calling many times while I was out and had insisted that "the message" reach me. However, my secretary informed me that she already knew what had happened in the pub the other day and that I did not have to explain the "affair" to her.

As if taking me for a ride was not good enough, Mrs Kam even attempted to discredit me by insinuating, through my secretary, that I was having an affair with her!

This is the worst episode that I have encountered in over three decades of patronising watering holes. It looks like most pub-goers never learn. This is because when you and your friends find a pub that suits your needs, you tend to be complacent. This message seems to have gotten across to the owners and their subordinates, leading them to believe that you have no other pub to go to. As a result you get short-changed and poor service. By the time you realise it, it may be too late because, quite often, there would be a change of ownership or management or the pub is closing down.

It is interesting to note that not long after I stopped going to Mrs Kam’s pub, the management was changed and later the pub was closed.

But after my retirement from my professional practice, I now do not frequent watering holes regularly as I don’t have to entertain clients and associates. However, I still do now (an ingrained habit!), about once or twice a week, with pub-friends whom I still keep in touch. Occasionally, when my pub-friends are not around, I would go to one where I am treated not as a customer but as a friend. This pub is called Canterbury located in SS3 Petaling Jaya.

I first went to this pub may be a decade ago. Since then its name and management have changed a number of times. I went to this pub because I had stopped patronizing other pubs in Petaling Jaya and elsewhere nearby for various reasons. Also Canterbury is located not far away from my house and in an area not too busy and congested.

Canterbury pub is currently operated by a couple - one KC, a businessman in his late forties and the other Yvonne, a beautician in her early fifties. Yvonne’s beauty salon is on the first floor of the 2-storey shop house where the ground floor is occupied by Canterbury pub. The pub opens from 5pm to 12 midnight (officially). There are four female employees – Mami, serving at the bar counter, a cashier,Ida, and two waitresses, Ella and Anna. All the employees are well-built Malaysians. So don’t play-play!

Canterbury pub is also an 1Malaysia pub. It is owned by Chinese, all staff are Bumis and majority of the customers are Indians!

I prefer to go to Canterbury on Tuesday evening when a Pasar Malam (night market) is operating in SS3 area. But Canterbury pub is located just outside the Pasar Malam area. Many residents around the area would shop in the Pasar Malam and so Canterbury would be quite empty. I would phone Yvonne before I go to inform her that I would be at the pub around 6pm.

When I walk into the pub, the girls would wish me “Good morning, Toh San” and one would usher me to my usual table. Without any order given, soon a jug of beer mixed with stout would be on my table. And also Yvonne, either coming down from her beauty salon or from the Pasar Malam would join me for a drink. She would bring along tidbits either bought from Pasar Malam or delicacies prepared by her. In no time, KC would also appear and join us too. Both KC and Yvonne have to go around the pub to meet and talk to other customers. But most of the customers do not come to the pub alone and so both of them do not have to spend a lot of time with them. Also when the pub has few customers, the waitresses would come to my table for a drink with me too. All in all I would not be left alone whenever I am in Canterbury!


In all my life’s happy hours, and in particular after my retirement from my professional practice, I place strict limits to my time spent in pubs and the amount of alcohol consumed in each session.

I seldom have meals in restaurants unless I have been invited for dinners by friends or relatives as I prefer to have my meals at home cooked by my wife. However, to have my dinners at home, I have to be back by 8pm as otherwise the kitchen will be closed! I’m glad that both KC and Yvonne are aware of my limitations and they will not retain me in the pub unless prior notice is given that dinner will be served in the pub.

Now my limit of alcohol consumption in pubs is a jug of mixed beer and stout, just over a liter in volume. And I do not consume wine or liquors before dinner. So in Canterbury, the first jug of beer/stout is under my account and the second one will be in Canterbury’s if KC and Yvonne are with me. If a third jug is required, it will be under my account. And this is the maximum I’ve to spend when I am in Canterbury.

There are occasions I do not have to spend a cent in Canterbury when I bring my home-brew beer to consume in the pub. But I am reluctant to do so because a pub is set up to do business and if my home-brew beer is consumed in the pub it will not benefit from my patronage. However, both KC and Yvonne are totally disagreeable to my conception and say in no uncertain terms that we are FRIENDS and they also enjoy my home-brew.

I am very pleased that after umpteen years of patronizing watering holes in all my life, I have finally found a most “friendly pub” in my twilight years!

My new home-brew stout is now ready for consumption and I am happy to share it with my FRIENDS in Canterbury pub.


The horse and mule live 30 years,
And nothing know of wines and beers;

The goat and sheep at 23 die;
Without a taste of Scotch and rye;

The cow drinks water by the ton,
And at 18 is nearly done;

The dog at 15 crashes in,
Without the aid of rum and gin;

The cat in milk and water soaks,
And then in 12 short years croaks;

The modest, sober, bone-dry hen,
Lay eggs for years and dies at ten;

All animals are strictly dry,
They sinless live and swiftly die;

But sinful, ginful, rum-soaked men,
Survive for three score years and ten;

And some of us, the mighty few,
Stay pickled till we’re 92!

(anonymous, saw this on a poster in one pub)

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nakedeyeview.com.my 2008