Located in Eyre Square, right in the heart of the vibrant city of Galway, the pub offers great food and entertainment for all. We spoke to Doug Leddin, marketing manager of An Púcán, to see how they feel about the nomination, what challenges they have faced and what they feel their major strengths are.
"We are incredibly lucky with our customers," said Doug when asked about the award nomination. "We have some really loyal customers and locals who have supported us since day one.
"The best bit for us is that they are so interactive and engaging with us both online and in An Púcán and that allows us to strive for a better product week in week out," he continued.
Since the bar opened in 2014, it has built a strong team around great individuals and this is what Doug attributes their success to. "We are so proud to have Conor Moloney the general manager leading a really dynamic team," he stated, emphasising the fact that the bar really treats employees as family, which in turn gives the customer a better experience.
Following the launch, during the risky time of the recession, there was a complete refit of the bar that changed the whole dynamic of the building. 2015 saw the opening of version one of their beer garden, and in 2018 the garden was given a total refit.
An Púcán has grown year on year and has constantly added to the venue where possible. "We have launched our own whiskey and gin as well as beer and we are always on the lookout for the next big thing," explained Doug. "Our vision is to have An Pucan go global and we think we have a great reciepe with An Púcán that could be adapted worldwide."
Constantly evolving and adapting to meet the needs of its customers certainly seems to be the way that the bar has become an established success.
An Púcán has definitely had its fair share of exciting moments over the past few years, with Kodaline and London Grammar playing live for the bar launch in 2014, as well as the opening of the new beer garden. However, for Doug, two of the most stand out moments include having the Connacht Rugby team host their after party on winning the Guinness Pro 12 (now Pro 14) competition in An Púcán, and, more recently, the launch of a Sunday garden session with resident musician John Gaughan and a revolving door of guest musicians. Every week, audience participation is encouraged. The constant development of the business is definitely something that Dough is proud of.
In terms of bar offering, An Púcán attempts to remain competitive all year round with discounts on cocktails Sunday to Thursday and a great value lunch. "Hospitality faces challenges every single week," said Doug. "There is never a finish line. Other bars and venues will open and close around you and we just have to always reinvent ourselves and try to offer great value and service." The bar offers over 250 whiskeys, whiskey tasting boards, over 50 gins, 15 vodkas and is slowly building their rum and tequila selection. Entertainment is live music, twice daily, with extra sessions at the weekend which are all free, making it possible for even those on a budget to have a good time, but also providing quite an eclectic experience. Doug stated that current plans for the future focus mostly on adjusting and adding to their entertainment offerings.
"The industry can be challenging but if it wasn't then everyone would be doing it," Doug continued. "It's a tough grind and we have some of the best people around us to keep reinventing ourselves. We are blessed with a strong team of guys and girls and as long as we keep that strong we will keep striving. New products and new consumer mindsets can be challenging but you must always be ready to adapt and be confident that you can do so. This year we will be focusing heavily on live entertainment on a bigger level then we have ever done so before and that can be daunting for numerous reasons, but if you commit to something and see it through you can only hope it works out for the best. Not all ideas are good ideas but as Oscar Wilde says 'an idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all'".
We certainly wish An Púcán all the best with the award and their current nomination, proving that constantly innovating and improving in this climate is the key to running a successful business.