Call to the Bar: All the ‘magic’ happens at Vanessa’s bar

October 31, 2019
Ian Allen/Photographer Vanessa’s Magic Bar in Guava Gap, St Andrew.
Walker serves up a drink for loyal customer Bernard.
Vanessa Walker (right) and her mother, Kathleen Thomas.

Every few minutes, whether it’s the toot of the horn of a passing car, or a wave from a pedestrian heading home, someone calls out to Vanessa Walker.

Walker is owner of the popular container drinking spot Vanessa’s Magic Bar, located in Guava Gap, rural St Andrew, and as she tells THE STAR her story, it was clear she is popular among the residents.

Walker was born and raised in nearby Cavaliers district and even though she admits to a passion for nursing, she always loved entrepreneurship.

“I got motivated by my parents because when I was growing up, I was always seeing my parents in business,” she said. “They had a grocery shop, where they sold a variety of things.”

Walker, along with her siblings, would all help out, even if they had jobs of their own.

But while working at HEART Trust, she decided to get more involved in the family business.

The space which still houses her mother’s shop was getting another container beside it, so Walker started a bar.

“The people in the community, they show us love and they always motivate us. They always told me, ‘ yuh can do good, man’,” she said. But running a bar was still a new experience.

“When I started I was so nervous, I didn’t know how to deal with the customers; you know, they have different personalities,” she said. “But getting my experience gradually, I got more brave. Now my customers and I, we have a family relationship. They love my personality. We’re very customer-oriented, we try to understand them. You have to be empathetic. When they’re going through bad times, I can actually understand them. So you always find people can relate to me, because they always know that Vanessa will give them good advice.”

In the almost 10 years that Vanessa’s Magic Bar has been in operation, it has hosted various events. The most recent was a Campari pop-up event.

“The people in the community really appreciate the events because they get the different deals and the selection of music,” she said.

Walker has plans to turn the spot into a full-fledged sports bar and lounge.

“So I’m thinking of putting in a pool table and more gaming machines. I’m thinking of having a more secluded area for persons who can actually just chill, away from the main area,” she said.

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