January 1, 2017

I'm Sorry, What Did You Say?! (#1)

"So, I think I want to open a bar."

The screech of the needle on the record was heard far and wide when I uttered those words to my family.  And the enthusiasm for the idea was, let's just say, slightly underwhelming.  My twelve year old responded with, "Aren't you going to lose all of your money?"  Hmmm... talk about getting right to the point.  I explained to him that it wasn't about the money.  My wife suggested that it was a hard business, which I may have misinterpreted into her saying she thought it wasn't a respectable profession.  "You'll never be home," said my fourteen year old daughter.  To which I replied that lots of jobs, including respectable ones like doctors... and, ummm, carnies, do not adhere to "corporate" business hours.

Skepticism persisted.  

I needed my ace in the hole.  And then it dawned on me, I showed them some scenes from the critically acclaimed standout of all bartending movies (or at least in the top 10), Cocktail (Coyote Ugly was a close second):

And who wouldn't want that kind of life?  I could tell - even though they insisted I was still nuts - they started coming around. I could tell.

But the truth is I had done my research.  Kind of.  It was not the research that would provide me any knowledge in the area of whether I could actually successfully do this (my only bar experience - aside from the ample time sitting in front of one - having been working for a lazy summer at The Cactus Club in Boston, ummm, 20 years ago), but the research I had done was more introspective.  A self-assessment, if you will:
  • I like people
  • I like having a sense of accomplishment 
  • I like multi-tasking 
  • I like beer
  • I like hard work with a commensurate reward
  • I like solving problems
  • I like process and technology 
  • I like cocktails
  • I like creating something from nothing
  • I like chatting, debating and laughing
  • I like beer nuts
  • I don't like sitting all day
  • I don't like being alone
And if that list doesn't scream out "Open a bar!" Honestly, I don't know what list will!
So, here my journey begins.  If you have ever thought that one day owning a bar would be "cool" or if you find it wildly humorous that someone who has spent about 20 years in the corporate world with zero restaurant/bar/food services experience would decide that this was their new path, and you just need a good hearty laugh at someone else's failures and poor lack of judgement - whatever your curiosities - I invite you to join me on this journey.

I expect it to be enlightening, humorous and even introspective.  And with any luck, 12 months from now, you can grab a drink with me and we can discuss how you foresaw the wrong turns I took, but decided not to add a comment on this blog (at which point, I will call you a wuss)!  And we can have that discussion... at my bar.



  1. Depending on how your venture goes, I'm thinking about starting up one of my own ... a beer and spirits export business, probably with only one customer, likely in the Boston area.

  2. Wow!!!!! Good luck Peter!!!! Josh and his buddies have been talking about this too. I'm sure you will inspire them. Can't wait to have a drink there and say I knew you when we were 4 years old!!

  3. I seem to recall a not so positive experience as a waiter in your employment history during college I believe 🤣

  4. Peter, I wanted to call you today and looked you up on LinkedIn to see that you were no longer at JLL and thinking about opening a bar. I got confirmation from Andrew... congrats! I've got a b school buddy who used to be a manager of a downtown bar if you want a brain to pick...

    Hope to connect soon

    Jeremy Munn

  5. Love it! You gotta get Stonecutter Spirits from Middlebury, VT. Tell Sas Geordy & I sent you. Best Gin ever created. We can send you plenty of maple syrup and grass fed belty from up North!

  6. So have you chosen a site? Please have at least 10 taps for good crafts beers, either local, or European.

  7. This is great. A man after my own heart. I'm rooting for you!

  8. So is the wedding business out of the question? I've got some seed money to start you out ... Seriously, really fired up about this idea and Steve and I have been wanting to reconnect. We also know folks in the biz if you want to pick some brains xo Laurie

  9. So exciting! Casting my vote for it to be in the South End!!!

  10. Coughlin's Law: anything else is always something better.

  11. Great idea. You'll be great at it!

  12. Jim's best friend from childhood is Tim Cushman, who opened O'Ya (plus O'Ya NYC and HoJoKo) to much skepticism, but the rest is history! Best of luck!