Not every barman is cut from the same cloth. Serving drinks to the public in one of Waterford’s most iconic pubs, Anthony Mullane, one of Geoff’s most familiar faces, chats to Waterford.FYI about what makes Waterford special for him, how his taste in music has been influenced over the years and if only he could fly!
Tell us a bit about how you got into this line of work, what has kept you in it for so long?
Ha, oh Jesus! I’m here since June ’92, 27 years plus. I did my apprenticeship in The Old Rogue from the age of 16 to 18 on the weekends. I started in Geoffs the day after my leaving cert – the plan was to do the ‘aul summer job. I wanted to be a nurse but I didn’t get my pass in Irish so I couldn’t be a nurse in Ireland. At the time, you had to have that to get into the Guards and nursing. So I started a pre-nursing course in the Tech and lasted until 12.30 pm on the first day. I came back to Geoffs to be a bartender. I lost my way but found my way, I’m still here.
What do you love most about Waterford?
I like coming back here. I’ve been away a few times and have always enjoyed coming back. I like the people; the sense of being here is very good. You go up town and you can always have a bit of banter with somebody. You get to know your neighbours around town, your colleagues or whoever, there’s always a nice sense of being in Waterford.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in St John’s Park. That was EPIC, it was bold, it was brash. You learned a lot of street ways up there, even though I wasn’t the wildest child. Now I live in a very different part of Waterford, Fenor, where there’s also a great buzz and great loyalty. I love it out there. It’s funny how much the people of Fenor know about the old school John’s Park ways. They give you an ‘aul slagging of how it was rough there and that it was called The Naked City. It’s all quite entertaining!
Favourite Waterford slang?
I think the infamous ‘Well boy!’ not just from the John Mullane hurling scene but I think it’s been in existence before that. To be able to use such a warm statement and you can even say it to a girl, there aren’t many male slang words you can use in that way. I do enjoy it, it’s comforting and synonymous with Waterford.
Who’s your favourite musician, music seems a big part of your life?
Sure that’s the most loaded question ever! If we talk about Waterford, The Mansion House was an exceptional place for music in my late teens to early twenties, where music was the dominant thing that we did at weekends. The Mansion House really opened up amazing opportunities to enjoy music. The band, The Madrigal were an amazing band. They spent days working on their sets, it was magical. We got on buses with them during the summer and headed to West Cork where they performed in Connollys of Leap – some amazing artists have sung in there, including Nick Cave. Their influences were our influences – Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, etc. War on Drugs and Radiohead are also bands I have come to love.
Watch The Madrigal
What do you like to listen to at work?
Luckily, my taste in music hasn’t become stagnant due to the ages of the other people I work with. Working at Geoffs with the younger crew, I’m still being introduced to new music all the time. Music is ultimately a very important part of my life. I try to offer it to my kids, not tell them what to listen to but at least lead them in the right direction.
Has technology influenced music for you?
Things have changed – you’ve got to really rack your brains. When I first started working in Geoffs, there were hundreds of tapes that we still have in a vault upstairs. Then there were mini discs, which we really enjoyed. After that, it was the CD. Using these as a medium, you were able to look at a shelf with loads of names of artists. But now with Spotify, you’ve got to use your mind more. It’s a good way to find new music, especially based on other people’s searches. I find Shazam a great way to find new music, especially when I’m in the car or at home. I listen to more old school music at home, a bit of vinyl.
Any memorable visitors to Geoffs over the years?
I think it happens every day. It’s the everyday people that I get more of a buzz off of, the ones that have been coming to Geoffs for a very long time. People that change, people that disappear for ten years and you get a buzz off them coming back. Or the people that have had kids and are back out socialising again. The evolution of the human is quite enjoyable. The tourist season can be quite good too, I like helping people out. You get to read some nice reviews on TripAdvisor too. Also, the people that you meet daily, like your colleagues at work. From the Aussies to the French guy to the Spanish guy on the washing-up, that can be an interesting part of your day. I’m more intrigued by the everyday I guess!
What are your pet peeves?
Hmm, I don’t really have many. I am a good timekeeper though and I don’t like people to be late. Maybe my wife might be a better person to ask that question, ha.
If you had a superhero power, what would it be?
Flying, sure it’s the ultimate. During my earlier, wilder days of doing illicit things, I always wanted to be able to fly. Maybe I achieved that getting on airplanes going around the world. I did a lot of travel in my time. If I could fly myself, it would be very convenient. So, the power of travel would be the superpower and part of my lifestyle I would like to retain for the future.
Speaking of travel, where’s your favourite place you’ve travelled to?
I’d live in New Zealand in the morning if it wasn’t the furthest away of places I’ve been to. I found the people very humble there, they are very like us in many ways, but less needy. There’s a very simple lifestyle there and I really enjoy that. I’ve got a gra for Africa, it’s where I met my Dublin wife, in Malawi. It’s also because of what’s in Africa, you know the wildlife, it’s still so wild and free there and that’s a beautiful thing. Things have changed now in that I’m saving to bring my kids to Universal. It’s a choice that you make for the love of your kids. Ha, maybe I’d prefer to be campervanning in Japan but something we’ve also talked about is going to the Everglades in Florida, encapsulating the outdoors whilst visiting a theme park.
Name three people you’d like to dine with, dead or alive.
1. Jesus, I’d love to ask him a few questions, ha!
2. Jim Morrison
3. Myself, I’d like to see myself from the exterior.
What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
I was having a lot of fun in my 20’s, 20 was good for me. I had more of a who-ha about my forties. In my 20’s, I was fairly free, I cycled everywhere. It was more important that I was able to fly. I definitely had a more serious chat with myself in my 30’s.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Follow your heart. Be yourself and always be honest. Give as much to your parents while they’re with you. And if you don’t like it, get ‘outta there!
Beer or wine? Yellow beer
3 am go-to food? Toast and cheese, definitely savoury, depending on geographical location. My 3 am is probably more five to eleven now!