Harriet Moore is serving drinks and food at the iconic Koerner’s Pub, nestled away in the picturesque west end of campus. An alumna of UBC, Moore still feels like she is very much a part of the UBC community.
In 2014, Moore started working at Koerner’s Pub as a part-time waitress. After graduating with a BA in sociology in 2015, she has stayed on full-time, as a hiatus between school and her professional career.
“I graduated, not entirely sure what industry I wanted to go into and where I wanted to apply in the workforce. I thought it would be nice to take a gap year and have some fun.”
Moore considers the pub her home away from home. “We’re like a family — it’s basically my second family. We’re all really close and we all really care for each other. That’s kind of rare in a workplace [where] people genuinely care about your well-being.”
Furthermore, she views the pub as a gathering place for people from all fields of study. “The best part [of the job is] how social it can be. Especially because it’s a pub on the UBC campus, I find that we are surrounded by like-minded, driven people. You get to have some pretty interesting conversations across a bunch of different disciplines and faculties.”
However, the pub’s clientele base is not limited to just students of UBC. According to Moore, in addition to locals, “we get a lot of tourists that are visiting UBC or the Museum of Anthropology and we get a lot of faculty that are here for lunch. Even though we are located in the graduate students’ building, we get a lot of undergraduates, like a whole range.”
What the regulars come back for, Moore believes, is the great selection of food and drink at the pub. “Something iconic about our pub is our pho nachos. It’s a take on Vietnamese pho and classic nachos, except they add brisket, sriracha, hoisin and sprouts. I’ve never seen them anywhere else. Our tuna poke bowl is really good as well and we kill the burger.”
Moore suggests pairing your entrée with a local brew. “We’re definitely craft beer focused. We have quite a few from Driftwood [on Vancouver Island], Howe Sound up in Squamish and also, from Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, Strange Foes [and] 33 Acres. Apart from PBR, all of our brews are local.”
To customers who “don’t know what hops are,” Moore recommends ordering a cocktail. “We’ve recently started doing a cocktail of the month. The one we have right now is called ‘Stephanie’s Love.’” Inspired by a regular named Brian, the cocktail is gin-based and flavoured with raspberry, lemon and hibiscus tones.
Moore hopes to continue making people happy. “I definitely enjoy working in hospitality and studying people in sociology. I like interacting with people and making sure people are happy in some capacity, whether it’s enjoying food or helping people in the grander scheme.”
While Moore loves her job, she has developed a pet peeve for brazen customers. “Unfortunately, for guys and girls, I feel like part of hospitality and the service industry is a level of flirtation and it can be correlated with tipping. I think it’s shameless, but flirting is always going to be a part of bars and alcohol.”
Such customers transgress the professional relationship between a server and customer, and Moore views this attitude towards female servers as demeaning towards women. “In serving, there’s a certain level of flirtation you’re supposed to put up with as opposed to other industries and as a feminist, I don’t necessarily think it’s right.”
According to The National Post, the Earls restaurant chain forced female servers to wear skirts as recently as February 2016 and a plethora of online employee reviews criticized Cactus Club Café’s dress code for being sexist against women.
In contrast to such sexist workplace requirements, Koerner’s Pub operates with a liberal, wear-what-you-want policy — one of the reasons why Moore feels so at home at the pub. “As a female, I don’t feel pressured to look a certain way. We can pretty much wear anything —pants, skirts. We don’t have to wear high heels — I feel like I can be myself. It’s very respectable, especially compared to other places.”
If you are thinking of visiting Koerner’s Pub, they have weekly specials such as Taco Tuesdays and Karaoke Wednesdays. Although they are closed on weekends, “sometimes through the UBC Calendar, we have special events that we put on with them on Saturdays, like the House Parties or the Full Moon Party.”