This is Alfred Siu, owner of Project Gigglewater in Toronto.
Alfred is 32 years old and is originally from Vancouver. He has done a lot of different things before bartending. He went to university for business and finished a double concentration in accounting and finance. He also has a diploma in architecture and building engineering. Alfred was a licensed real estate for four years in Vancouver and was also a full-time poker player before. It was in 2013 that he found his way into bartending…
Alfred was always the guy that would bring his own ice chest to his friend’s home parties and offer to bartend for everyone. Of course, the concoctions he was mixing back then were far from the cocktails that he now serves at his bar in Toronto. We are talking about the flamboyant years of melon liqueur, blue curaçao and Hpnotiq. Nevertheless, that is how Alfred started to enjoy bartending and how his curiosity for cocktails was sparked. He started reading books and watching YouTube videos. When he was hired behind a bar for the first time, he already knew a lot about cocktails and was promoted very quickly. Thus began Alfred’s exploration of the Vancouver cocktail scene. He worked at 17 different bars before leaving the city. He would learn what he had to learn from each place and move on to the next one. The Diamond was definitely where he learned most. However, Alfred always found that working for someone else was limiting in the creativity or the style that he wanted to do, whether it’s the creativity of the cocktails or the style of service. No bar had the balance of those two things that he wanted.
So Alfred moved to Toronto, with the clear goal in mind of opening his own bar. He worked at El Ray for a little while until he put everything in place to launch his own venue in 2018, Project Gigglewater. Not only is it one of the best cocktail venues in Toronto, but it is also a place for industry people to relax and have access to affordable drinks. Alfred makes sure to be there for the community and is always happy to host events for hospitality people.
If he’s sure passionate about cocktails, his other great passion remains business. Opening his own bar was a way to bring his two main passions together, but Project Gigglewater is the first of many other business projects that Alfred has in mind. As an example, he adapted very quickly to the official lockdown and his bar now offers a full quarantine menu and cocktail merchandise selection that are sure to please anyone in the city looking for quality cocktails to enjoy at home. We are looking forward to see what all of his future projects will be and wish him all the best for what is next to come!
A little bit more about Alfred...
The three words that describe him best: driven – calculated risk taker – fun oriented
His magical hangover cure: Instant noodles and lots of water.
The first cocktail that blew his mind: The Old Fashioned.
His advice for future bar owners: Reach out to all the successful local bars and talk to the bar owners. Ask them about their experience and how they did it.
The biggest lesson that opening his own bar taught him: Choosing the right location and marketing it right. Marketing is your greatest tool. It doesn’t matter if you do an excellent job if nobody knows that you’re there.