How did you come to work at such an iconic pub?
I grew up in Peckham. South of the river: very controversial. I used to run a night called Liar Liar Club in the New Cross Inn when I was 18. One thing led to another and I found myself being sucked into the bar trade and thoroughly enjoying myself. I moved north of the river when I was 21 and have been here ever since. Discussing real ale with the staff and management at Tapping the Admiral one day, I heard about this role and happened to be the man for the job, in the right place at the right time.
What’s so special about the place?
The Pineapple is unlike any other pub or bar I have worked in. The sense of community and humour is beyond compare. It’s where the inhabitants of Kentish Town come to let loose and chill out. A beautiful pub with amazing beer, food, tunes and friendly staff. Truly, in my opinion, the social hub of the local community.
It’s got to be the added personal touch. I often compare it to Cheers (“Everybody knows your naaaammmee”).
Who are your customers then?
You have the bar regulars, a gaggle of the everlasting Kentishtowners. Long before it was hip and cool to be here, these guys and gals have been propping up the bar. Keeping the local community alive through saving the pub, they are a brilliantly eccentric force of humanity. The second are the young hunters. Sick of the bars on the strip, they just want an old fashioned boozer with a decent playlist. You have to find us or be introduced to us, as we’re a backstreet boozer after all. If all else fails, the Thai Kitchen reels ’em in.
Is the rise of craft beer a good thing?
I love experimenting with whatever I can get my hands on. The prices can get out of hand but I tend to treat it like wine or champagne. On a special occasion? Try a bottle of Cantillon Gueze or an American IPA like Flying Dog or Raging Bitch.
What’s been your worst experience?
Probably funerals or wakes. It is, after all, the reality of a local pub.
How do you see the industry in five years’ time?
I can see nothing but success. Especially in London. They bring people together through the good times and bad.
Who’s the most famous face you’ve served?
Gotta be Suggs. Lovely man. Local hero. Also, Madness was the soundtrack to my youth. My dad is a massive fan.
And finally, who would you most like to serve a pint to?
Morrissey – as he got me kicking and screaming through my angsty teenage years.