Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Matthew Boyle, president and co-owner of The Clever Barkeep & Dear Friend Bar, located in Dartmouth, SA, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

The Clever Barkeep is a bartending company born in Dartmouth, NS, about five years ago. My business partner, Jeffrey Van Horne, and I worked together for a long time and saw a need in the market for quality cocktails off-site. We started catering parties, and word spread! Four short years later, we bootstrapped our very own cocktail bar in the core of Dartmouth’s downtown. Both of us are from Dartmouth and really felt compelled to open something in our neighborhood. We couldn’t be happier to be in this community!

Tell us about yourself

Bartending is something that I found out of necessity. During university, I needed money to pay off my student debt, and I was lucky enough to find an establishment that made great gratuities! I also found Jeff, and he was able to teach me and mentor me along the way. The best part was that we became best friends during the process. I always felt drawn to bartending. Even at an early age, I thought it was a cool thing to do. The fun fact is that I never saw the movie Cocktail! Once I started, it was the ability to work in a flow state, on my feet, constantly learning, that hooked me. Starting my own business is something that I have always wanted to do. Once I found my business partner and a vocation that allowed us to do something we love every day, it became easy to be motivated.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Empowering people and letting them take the reins. We are so lucky to have an abundance of talent and inspiration around us at our cocktail bar. We feel very lucky to have hired the family surrounding us, and it is an amazing feeling seeing them grow every day.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Murphy’s Law. When something goes wrong, everything seems to go wrong, always at the same time. However, with these challenges comes a plethora of knowledge and skills that we have both attained. At the end of the day, every failure or challenge becomes a win in some sort of light.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Start today.
  2. Don’t give up.
  3. Do something that energizes you.

Where can people find you and your business?



If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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