Thursday, 27 October 2011

Season Review 2011

Well thats another season over and one to look back over and see how it went. But before we do that my lovely blog readers a few have asked "What closing sign did you leave this year?" Well i left 2 this year, one on my front chain as usual and one inside for my designer LOL.

So "On with the show!". You better get comfortably as it may take some time to read, thats if i can remember everything i wanted to write.
After i landed on the island in April i was met with a bar full of graffiti and i mean full. Every surface was defaced including ceilings, doors, walls, floor, planters,sign and even trees. Some was done 2 days after i left in October 2010 the rest was done Feb/Mar 2011. It will take a lot more than graffiti to take me down. I knuckled down to work and within 3 days was ready to open with an all new look. Jealousy is a terrible thing but as the saying goes "What goes around, comes around" and boy that day will come and i will have the biggest smile ever when it does but no rush for that day, it will come.

You get what you pay for when you hire cheap designers LOL.
And this is when a professional like myself picks up a brush.

May i thought was going to be quite slow, resort was pretty empty but the weather was great. Opened on the 4th of May amd was shocked by how busy opening night was. As the month continued it was going much better than normal and i had set myself up for a bad season due to the British and Greek economy crisis. Its was a pleasant surprise when May ended up being my best May ever but i was sure it couldn't last out like this and put it down to people booking early to get cheaper holidays. May's weather was brilliant with only 5 hours rain in total and those hours were early hours of the morning between 3-5am so the days were glorious.

June started off steady but then after the first week it went crazy bonkers, 10th June saw me break my record for a best nights takings ever and it carried on that way for the whole of the month, very busy indeed. Weather was outstanding and little did we know it was going to continue to just get hotter and better. June also saw Oceanic become No.1 business on Tripadvisor for the island. Well, in the restaurant section it is but Tripadvisor were happy for it to stay there so i'm really thankful for that even though alot have moaned that "its not a restaurant". If you read the reviews and and have read that its called "Oceanic Chill Out Bar" then you can pretty much figure out i don't serve food, so unless you have a brain the size of a pea then you should be able to realise that i only serve drinks. So just look at the second best rated business on the island or within the resort, you don't need a masters degree in common sense to figure that out haha. June was again my best June since i had opened. Problems were starting to occure with certain business owners and myself but i took the bull by the horns and decided to sort it head on.

July levelled out and was a bit quieter than June which i wasn't complaining about as the first 2 months had been manic and my body was struggling a little to keep up the pace. This is when the 18-30's started to flood the resort and a bad eliment was creeping in to Kalamaki. Groups of young guys and girls were being encouraged to act as if the resort was Laganas, bar crawls were being organised by an independent group making tax free profit and bars were starting to war due to this independent group. Now if your a home to bed person by 11pm you wouldn't have seen this type of behaviour but trust me it was there and my friends who own certain bars had more trouble in them than any season before. I was having the odd problem myself but i was determined to fight against it and beat them by keeping my business busy and full every night without changing anything about my bar, no loud music, no prices outside, no free shots, no special offers and still my bar remained full through all of July, that made them even more crazy as they couldn't see why i was still busy, its all about a business mind baby, its all in the mind LOL. July even though it was quieter than June ended up as my best July ever.

August, Well this was a very very busy month, broke all records for best night and best month ever. I had the best group of people in my bar that i've ever had in either of my bars Tropicana and Oceanic and thats the Leeds Crew. What and great bunch of people. It started off as 22 for the first week but went down to 16 by the second week and thats when i got to know them all a bit better, Woody, Big Bob, Alison, Mandy, Eden, Bailey, Colby,Brenda, Dave, Jayne, Callum, Daz, Heidi, Chris, Carol and Andy. They were such a big part of my season due to having such a laugh with them and their music tastes were of the highest standards, these people were the highlight of my season. Very down to earth, very polite, very drunk (by 4am) haha. A new champion was born in Oceanic, Cogger the first ever Connect 4 World Champion. I'm hoping myself and Helen can get up to Leeds so we can all meet up again and they can meet Helen. This month also saw me get a reply from "Total Wipeout" saying that i have been successful in getting an audition for the show. Woohoo what a great bonus for a great month. Weather was hitting the 38-42 deg so its was a bit of a nightmare trying to keep cool even at night, you never get used to the heat. This month also saw Oceanic featured in the Easyjet inflight magazine, how it got there i don't know but i think that helped me with making August such a outstanding month.

September and the temprature remains the same, what is going on with the weather? Some people say "i wouldn't moan if i were you" but its no difference. Having to much sun and heat is the same as having to much rain and cold, you can get bored of it. The resort dropped off very quickly after the schools had started back, in fact it got alot quieter quicker than normal. As for Oceanic it was still going as strong as ever, full at some point every night and not missing a target. Went back to the UK for 3 days for my audition which i passed all 3 stages so it was just a matter of waiting for them to make the final pick for the show. September also beat my best September ever.

October and i am now running on empty after the most amazing 5 monhs of my 5 years with Oceanic. I start to think of home, Helen, my mum and family and of course our new house but the season aint over yet and Wales are in the Semi final of the rugby world cup. Weather is starting to change the resort starts to get hit by high winds and hours of monsoon rain. Never seen it rain so hard for so long in all my 11 years on Zakynthos. Many businesses are closing very early in the season, hope this isn't a bad sign for the season to come in 2012. By mid October half the resort is shut and the Old Road is deserted. There was hardly anyone on the road it was like the very first day of the season but the bar was still getting all its seats filled even though i got flooded out 3 nights and they still come back and sat in puddles but i did close one Sunday night as the bar was just so damp i wouldn't let my customers sit in a bar like that so i dried it out ready for the next night. Thats the first time in 11 years i've ever closed a bar for anything but my customers have to be comfortable and i wouldn't let them sit there with a damp bar. October was the same as previous 5 months my best October ever.

So thats it month by month. 2011 season was by far my best season by long way but what with the tax increases and new taxes that were being set up it does take a big chunk of that money so i'm very fortunate to have had such a good year as i know many struggled but hope they all survive to open for another season. It wasn't all highs over the season but i had maybe just 2% of lows that was mainly to do with things going on at home like missing Helen and family and Helens mum finding out she had cancer and me not being there for Helen. See i can be a big softy, sometimes LOL.

My body isn't getting any younger and this season has pushed my fitness level to its limits but it held out, just! I was losing 2kg a night which i would then have to go home and pig out so i didn't lose to much weight but thats not a healthy way to live even though it was all healthy food for most of the season. Apart from the odd "Big Boys" buffet and "Next" feast, They are greek take aways in Zakynthos town mmmmmmm!

Would i change anything about my season? No. Will i be back next season? why hell YEAAHHH!
Got some new things going on with bar and the building but i've only just got back and don't start to think of the bar till Jan as its time for a little break from Zakynthos. No doubt my bar will have the little pixies visit it again during the winter as they have every winter since i opened but i'll say this to the person "be careful" you never know who's watching. Oh and if your thinking of what to do next to the bar could you take the roof down for me please haha.

So thats it for another season and all thats left to say is a huge massive thank you to all my customers old and new. If it wasn't for you enjoying what i've set up with Oceanic then i wouldn't still be open, you make Oceanic work by enjoying a bar that you can socialize in without having to shout and music that you know or reminds you of a certain memory. As i've said many times before "My bars nothing special, i don't even think its the best, its just a bar being a bar again with no frills but has good company, good music and only quality drinks". Hope to see many of you next season.

Don't forget i still update my blog every 2 weeks during the winter so keep checking the blog or Oceanic chill out bar facebook for my updates and i'll leave you with my last pictures from the island for this season.

Its been emotional LOL.

Aww my little bar all closed up for winter.
The last pool i used at the Golden Sun Hotel. As you can see there is only one towel out, thats cause there was only me using the pool. What a crazy guy.
My last sunset as i rode to Drunk Corner for my lasy supper of Havana Club and Guinness LOL
As the sunrises in Zakynthos Town i think of Star Wars, yes my brain works different to most haha.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Time ladies and gentleman please!

So that's it, another season over after tonight. That's now 11 seasons on the island and 5 seasons with Oceanic and every year has just got better.

Almost out of stock now and this has been my busiest Oct by far. Was still full up till Monday night and 19 of my customers go home tomorrow so pointless staying open and getting more stock just in case a few more turn up but the nights are freezing now and got the outdoor heaters on full blast, never felt it this cold.

So last Tuesday i decided to take my friends Janice and Phil (dedicated customers since i opened in 2007) out for lunch but there was some crossed wires. I was taking them to a locals taverna just outside of Zakynthos town called "The Green Boat". I explained where it was to Janice and Phil and they sort of knew where it was. The story continues like this.

Later on the day of our lunch i get a text saying "Booked a table for 3 at Porto Fino". Now this place i only knew as a cocktail bar that in season the Greeks visit so i thought they were joking. On meeting Janice and Phil i find out that its true so off we headed to Porto Fino as "The Green Boat" was closed for the season. On arrival it was the cocktail bar i thought it was and the woman who ran it was in town getting our food. At this point it clicked that they didn't have a restaurant menu and only served 8 bar snacks which i read on the cocktail menu. Phil when he booked the table had asked were they open for food and the woman said yes so Phil ordered a variety of starters which is what i eat at The Green Boat. On her return we ordered drinks, 2 orange juices and a bottle of Amstel. Out come the drinks, small bottle of Amstel and 2 mixed fruit smoothies, not a good start. She then brings us 3 Greek salads which were lovely but its not rocket science putting together a Greek Salad and we only wanted one to share. Half way through eating our salad we were brought a plate each of the same food and all 3 plates had the same things on them. Now this was the most bizarre plate of food I've ever had in my life. It looked like she had gone to her house fridge and done a Ready, Steady, Cook with what was left in it. The plate had exactly this on it:- A base of stale bread soaked in olive oil and oregano to mask the fact it was stale, topped with warm soggy chips, one whole artichoke cut in half and grilled to death so much so if i had tried to eat it I'm sure i would have pierced my cheeks, 3 x okra, yuk, 4 x tinned sardines, 4 x slices of burnt aubergine, 2 x green olives, 2 x slices of village sausage not halves, slices, and to top it all off 1 x dried out packet meatball. This was our meal. It wasn't the worst meal I've had on the island but it was in the bottom two LOL. Then on the house we had one small plate of small vine grapes which had more seeds than flesh. Poor Phil, but it wasn't his fault it was just a misunderstanding on which restaurant it was. So it was time for the bill which Janice and Phil so kindly offered to pay. Phil summoned the lady to the table for the bill. I had worked out at cost price at the most the whole meal with drinks would cost about 12 euro so should be about 36 euro as there was no price as no food menu. How much do you reckon? 36? No, 46? No, must be 56? No, OK surely 66? No, has to be 76? No, the total cost for that meal with the 2 drinks that were wrong don't forget was 88 euro. WHAT THE F@*! Phil went quite pale and buckled at the knees LOL He gave her 90 and she walked away waving saying "have a nice holiday". So she wasn't even going to give him the 2 euro change. So the morale of this story is "Never book a table without checking the prices and if they actually have a menu" haha.

Greek Salad was all fine.
Main course was from out of a Stephen King book, bizarre and weird LOL.

And free dessert was from outside the house haha.

Total Wipeout, Am I or Aren't I?

So i'm just about to tidy around the apartment, pack my bag and make everything secure for the winter. So as in previous post the next update will be my seasons review and other crappy chit chat i had forgot through the season. So until i'm back in the wet, grey and windy UK its goodbye from Zakynthos.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Woohoo, I'm coming home!

So just 2 weeks left for me and I'm on my flight back home. So looking forward to having a tiny break from work and of course to spending time with Helen, been a hard year for Helen so will be glad to be there for her when times get tough and she needs me.

So lets start with my birthday bash at the bar. What can i say my customers made it a great night with cards and presents which was very kind of them. One of my new regular couples (sorry about forgetting your names, its my age you see LOL) brought me over from the UK two bottles of Brains Welsh bitter and oh my god did they go down a treat, as you can see they didn't last long enough for me to take a picture of the bottles with the beer in.

Well still doing amazing trade and full at some point during the nights even at this time of the season but after todays change over i think all that will change as lost 21 customers today and very little coming back in so will have to wait and see what the change overs bring. Everyone i owed money to is paid up full and money put aside for my tax so its a nice calm run in till the end of the season. I think after this weekend many places will start to close as the resort is like a ghost town in the days and not much busier at night from what I've been told. I'm still closing around 3am but the nights are now getting colder and we had rain this afternoon and due rain all weekend.

So now the big question, whats happening with Total Wipeout. Well still no contact as yet but i guess no news is good news and they did say i could be contacted up to 3 weeks before having to be on show, so I'm still waiting for my phone to ring to hear from them. I thinks its the longest time I've ever kept my phone with me LOL

Back home i've already ordered a roast beef dinner with my mum as nothing beats your mums roast dinner and to be honest why would I want to eat British food when in Greece. The two foods don't even compare, British food is so bland and dull, Pies, Cod in Batter, Sausages and Egg, Full English breakfast etc etc No spices or herbs in it just salt and pepper but Greek food just always tastes so good no matter what dish I've eaten even lambs testicles and stuffed intestines LOL. I didn't touch British food all season this year so 2 weeks on holiday without it for me would be a breeze haha.

I think that i will update next once home in the UK with my review of the season and whats in store for me through the winter.

Only a short update today i know but not really up to much in the daytime now, just wanting these two weeks to fly by so I'm back home with the people i love around me as its been a long physically demanding season. So looking forward to seeing my family and Helen again and be able to go out with them and enjoy a well earned rest, not for too long of course, i go crazy doing nothing LOL.

So until I'm back in the UK that's the last update from the island and all that's left to say is COME ON WALES! and VIVE LA FRANCE! LOL