Jay Fuller is one of Ubar’s longest-lasting bartenders. He has met a lot of faces and witnessed a lot of changes to Macquarie during that time. Earlier this month, Grapeshot took the time to chat with Jay to discuss the things he loves about Ubar and to spill the secrets on the bar’s history and night life.
How long have you worked at the bar?
Ha! So long! I served my first beer on Conception Day (Cday) 2006. My first shifts at the bar were that same year, picking up glasses 5 hours a day. I’ve served countless people on their first and last day here at Macquarie. Good motivation to get educated!
Over that time what would you say has been your favourite event?
A lot of the events like Toga and Cday provide my fondest memories despite sometimes being unpleasant at the time from a working point of view. I suppose from my perspective a great event is made from great customers and a great bar team. I’m fortunate to say those elements have always been easy to find.
You’re also an MQU Student, how do you balance working at Ubar and finding time for your studies?
Now I am no longer a full timer, the best thing about working casually on campus, as any of us would say, is that we are allowed an incredible amount of flexibility as far as shifts go. I have an awesome manager who does the hard yards juggling dozens of student timetables, a skill that must be seen to be believed.
You’ve seen a few different trends and events go through Ubar, which do you feel were the most successful?
It seems to me that like all trends, it’s cyclic. The best years are when there is a solid contingent of domestic students who are uninhibited socially without being nobs. This in turn provides a fun and real experience for international students, creating a great atmosphere that perpetuates itself. When these conditions occur it’s a pleasure to be involved in. For me, that’s success.
What would you like to see Ubar do in the future to engage with students?
I’ve sat in countless meetings to discuss this, and many things have been tried by people who really care. In the end people are going to do what they want and student commitments are dynamic. We’ve just got to keep our eyes open and try to stay interesting. Ubar will always strive to engage students through great events. In saying that, I believe it’s much better to engage organically rather than try to force it. The heart of the bar has always been a place for students to engage with each other and it’s not what happens but who you’re with when it happens. If you’re with people who are fun, exciting and interesting even doing the dishes can be a memorable experience and the greatest experience can be lost if you feel uncomfortable. Ubar is there for when students need to engage and have the flexibility to allow for all the various directions the relationship may go.
What is the funniest thing you’ve ever seen while working at the Ubar?
Whoah, the things I’ve seen. I have a pretty cracked sense of humour so the things I think are funny may not seem funny to everyone. As far as PG funny stuff, the most I’ve ever had to hold in a laugh for was on a karaoke night. On Thursdays, I think the best ones are the awkward moments when attractive people with a little too much confidence embarrass themselves and try to stay confident. That always makes me laugh. I’ve seen some pretty funky dancing too. The bar staff are definitely a hilarious bunch but, sorry gang, no specifics ‘cos what happens at the Ubar stays at the Ubar.
I noticed a lot of Ibis also dig the atmosphere at Ubar, if you could say one thing to them, what would it be?
Bloody Ibis! I’d cut them some slack because they dig the bar, but they are surely over represented. If I was in uniform I’d diplomatically suggest they have some pride, bathe more and be the dignified grand birds I know they can be. Out of uniform I’d be less diplomatic and swear much, much more.
If an Ibis suddenly evolved the ability to talk and felt like a drink, would you serve it?
Of course I’d serve it, that’s my job. It would however need to prove it was over 18, and with a lifespan of 16 years in the wild for the White Ibis I may find the law required me to politely decline service. So sad.
Next time you’re at Ubar, navigate your way past the Ibis and say a big hello to Jay.
Interview by Erin Corderoy
Copy by Elise Cullen