THESE days, surviving in the cut-throat environment that is the Klang Valley bar and bistro scene is a matter of finding your niche and keeping relevant to your patrons as time goes on.
Luckily, the Navigators Bar and Bistro in Jaya One, Petaling Jaya seems to have managed that, celebrating its second anniversary with a diverse crowd.
While some guests played the night away at the pool table, others took part in lucky draws organised by sponsors and enjoyed the live music.
Prizes ranged from sponsored liquor and drinks, to weekend getaway packages by Glory Beach and JW Boutique hotel in Malacca.
The bands for the night, Deja Vu and Awang BPR and Friends performed a variety of tunes with Mandarin, Malay/Indonesian and English hits, to the guests who streamed in through the night.
For Brian Hawley from the United States, being co-owner of a bar was never part of the qualified pilot’s plans.
Speaking in a Midwestern accent, Hawley, who still pilots commercial flights, said the concept for Navigators had come after he and his partners’ mutual friend came up with the idea for a bar and bistro.
“I like live music myself, and hence we decided to invest by providing live bands, and the Navigators fulfilled a gap in this area,” said Hawley.
Given that his partner had worked as a ship’s navigator, and Hawley himself an aircraft pilot with both depending on the compass for a living one way or another, the name readily suggested itself.
Still, being in a business development meant that it took a while for Navigators to find its footing, as the establishment in some ways, is off the beaten path unlike “walk-by” areas such as Changkat Bukit Bintang.
“Running a bar is in many ways like running a ship or a plane, maybe you will get about 80% smooth sailing, but suddenly you get beat by things out of your control, such as turbulence,” Hawley laughed.
It has not been an easy ride so far, but the main thing, he said, before returning to attend to his guests, was that they were still riding.