Call To The Bar: Sherine Royal, the queen at Sips Tavern


July 19, 2018
Lionel Rookwood/Photographer Owner of Sips Tavern, Sherine Royal (right) with her barmaid Terry-Ann Gordon.
Lionel Rookwood/Photographer Sherine Royal, owner of Sips Tavern.
Lionel Rookwood/Photographer Sherine Royal mixes a combo of Boom and the very popular Campari for a customer.

If you're ever in the Hagley Park area, there's a popular drink up spot between East Road and Carpenter Road.

Sips Tavern has been going for nearly six years, but it might not have happened had the owner not taken a business chance.

Six years ago, the owner, Sherine Royal, had a decision to make. She owned a bar called Black Knight on Waltham Park Road, St Andrew, and was part of a round robin.

Another bar owner, who was in the same round robin, gave her some advice.

He felt that Black Knight was nice, but it was so popular that she had issues with the size of the crowds that would show up, especially when it was time to host her leg of the round robin.

"I knew the guy who operated this bar (Sips Tavern), and he decided that he wanted to let it go," she recalled. "He felt I needed bigger space. So he put in a good word with the landlord."

Despite some reservations, Royal took the chance. And she hasn't regretted it.

She points out that Sips Tavern did not have a name before she took over. The name, however, wasn't entirely her idea.

"A friend of mine has a company that sells water with the same name. I used to promote it," she said.

So, when he suggested christening her bar with the same name, she was cool with that.

The name actually rings a bell with some patrons.

"Some people, when they come here for the first time, they even ask if it's named after the water," she laughed.

Royal said that she was surprised that Sips has been performing well.

"People have actually said I've been here the longest (in terms of other bar owners). They say most of the owners move after two years," she said. "I don't know why."

She pointed out that she still gets some of her customers from her old Waltham Park Road establishment.

With various watering holes in the Corporate Area, Royal is always thinking about different ways to engage current customers, and find new ones.

She hosts Free Pool Thursdays, where patrons can try their hand at the popular bar game. There are also plans for a special mixed-drink night, maybe on a Tuesday, and a weekly Friday event.

She is even contemplating opening another bar. But she's not rushing into any decisions.

"I can't say if I would definitely own another bar. But then, if you had asked me if I'd be here, I probably would have said, 'No way'. So, time will tell," she laughed.

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