Interview: Michael Callahan

The role of a barman has been like a best friend. A best friend you end up marrying. We always had each other’s back. I guess it was only a matter of time before we came to understand that we were destined to be together.

I was dating a girl I met when both of us were focused on our professions. She moved to the Philippines to follow her career. I went to visit her for 24 intense hours during Sinulog because I realized she was my best friend. Three months later we were married on Mount Faber.

Singapore was the loving and stern aunty that said “prove it”. She challenged me to reach my full potential and gave me room as I spread my wings. She gave me a home with support and affection. She has rewarded my conviction at every turn. I am a better man because of her.

Due to my devotion it pains me to hear of others that take her kindness for granted.

Singapore is a young city with an old soul. It has beautiful pockets of old world nostalgia while still having the charm of a rookie sensation. I hope to see within my lifetime a city-state that grows to rival New York and London in its diversity, relevance and charm.

Why must all of the taxi drivers in this city change shifts during the busy hours of the afternoon?

I find inspiration in images. Sounds silly but it’s true. Many of us create cocktails to relive old memories or escape to places we always dreamed of. Seeing a picture of a guy lounging on a boat off the coast of Portugal, I would ask myself “What would be the best drink for that guy?” and “What ingredients would he have available?” It’s always an image.

My routine at the moment is very regimented. Wake, work, gym, lunch, work, work, work, work, feed, work, sleep. Repeat. Sunday is family day and we often do things with the staff like spend the day at Tanjong Beach Club. My dream is to end up more along the lines of wake, something, whatever, something else, maybe climb a coconut tree, watch sunset, sleep. Repeat.

I’ve had quite a few travelling experiences. Three days across the US via Greyhound Bus, stopping in little towns spending hours talking to old guys in diners and young farm kids with big dreams. Or a trip with some of the world’s best bartenders to Queenstown, New Zealand, for a competition that changed the competitors’ lives forever.

Making connections with people. Getting to share experiences of wonder and excitement. It’s the process of sharing life’s little moments that can trigger some intense emotional responses.

Aside from memories and experiences, I collect very little. My mantra is “travel light, live light.” I have less trappings now than ever before. I see little value in them and will most likely give away most of my possessions when it’s time to move on—except my hats.

If you have been to 28 Hong Kong Street more than a few times you would notice my deep love of music. It transcends all genres and I often incorporate multiple different styles and artists in any given setting. Currently I have been on a Latin-American kick.

I personify pretty much anything in life. Every vehicle I have ever owned has a name and a personality. I will nickname my pillows if they exhibit some unique quality. Shoes, the gecko that lives in the hall, my man-bag, nothing is safe from getting a nickname and a personality.

I am guilty of taking time on this planet for granted more so than I would like.

After many years of late night philosophical conversations at 24-hour diners I am pretty sure that no one has a clue what happens after we die so its best not to offend any religion. It’s better to respectfully hold on to whatever speaks to you.

You’re not getting rid of me that easily.