Fleetenkieker Irish Pub in Hamburg, Germany won Best Sports Experience last year at the Irish Pubs Global Awards. Not only does the bar offer customers a variety of sports with an authentic Irish welcome, but it also gives them the chance to experience Irish music, food and a wide range of Irish beverages.
I spoke to Audrey Leeves about what the award means to them, what the plans are for Fleetenkieker Irish Pub and what their secrets for success are.
Fleetenkieker Irish Pub is a traditional family business already in its second generation. Audrey's father John Kerr opened another pub previously, on the same street in 1994.
“I have been involved from the first day we opened,” explained Audrey, “And after many years of learning the business I took over sole ownership of the pub with my husband in January 2017.”
After 18 successful years in the centre of Hamburg in 2012, they then decided to move in to the traditional Hamburg bar in Fleetenkieker, which is located in the historical premises of the Patriotische Gesellschaft.
The Best Sports Experience award also means a lot to Audrey, as she proudly said: “Live sports are very important to us for the success of our pub, and winning this award confirms that the hard work we and our staff put into giving our customers a great sports experience has been successful.”
Not only was winning the award a boost for the staff at Fleetenkieker Irish Pub, but the trip to Dublin for the ceremony was an exciting experience for Audrey. “Getting to go back home was great as I don’t get a chance very often, being so busy with running the pub. B nominated in four categories for the awards ceremony was fantastic and completely unexpected,” she said.
“The evening ceremony was well planned and it was great to meet other staff and pub owners and swap stories,” she continued, stating that being on “The other side of the bar was a nice change.”
The pub is very focused on giving its customers a full Irish experience. What sets them apart from other Irish bars is their wide selection of Irish products including food, beers, spirits and snacks that are complimented with excellent live musicians and an unrivalled choice of live sports.
The menu offers a wide selection of snacks, sandwiches and homemade meals. “All of our meat products come from directly from Ireland. Our fish is sourced locally from our local fish market,” Audrey explained. “Our Keoghs crisps, Ballymaloe Relish and other Irish products are bought from a company here in Hamburg.”
Audrey believes that the key to the bar's success lies in the atmosphere. “To walk into any Irish bar and to be met with a nice greeting by the staff,” says Audrey, is a key component of this. With a “Fantastic team” of 12 from all corners of the globe, the bar extends a warm welcome to everyone and customers are “Able to have the craic,” making sure their visit is one they will remember and will think about when they go home.
Entertainment is also an essential part of the atmosphere - Fleetenkieker Irish Pub has live music every Friday and Saturday night. Each month the bar also runs a pub quiz where there are always a few Irish themed questions in each round. For the March quiz, because of St.Patrick's Day, there will be an Irish quiz where the questions will be about all things Ireland.
Of course, the Irish holiday will be a massive feature for the pub with celebrations commencing on March 16th with a Party into Paddy's Day, which will have a live Irish band, Irish drinks specials, Irish stew and lots of spot prizes. On the day itself, “We will continue with our Six Nations party where we hope Ireland will be crowned the Six Nations champions,” and the evening will have live Irish music to continue the celebrations long into the night.
When asked what her plans are for the future, Audrey said that they would “Just really like to continue doing what we are doing and hopefully keep on being as successful as we have been in the last few years since our move to the new premises.”
After the World Cup ends in the summer, Audrey has plans to carry out major renovations, including moving the bar around to make it bigger, allowing for more beer taps, while also making room for more standing and seating space.