The first person many LGBT+people meet when they arrive in the city is the bar person at their local LGBT+ venue. These gatekeepers to the community provide an important role both befriending and signposting new arrivals to the scene. Gscene finds out a bit more about them and what makes them tick.
Matt Richards works at the popular Bedford Tavern, the community pub on the border between Brighton and Hove. He has won the Golden Handbag for Favourite Bar Boy three times and been runner-up twice in the last five years.
Where do you come from? Guildford in Surrey.
What brought you to Brighton? I moved here with my then boyfriend as we loved the place! That was 21 years ago.
Oddest thing you’ve been asked for? A guy asked to buy my underwear. I politely declined, they were my favourites.
What’s the worst kind of punter? I love all customers obviously?!?
What do you do when it’s quiet in the bar? I really enjoy chatting with people. The quieter periods are as important as busy times. It gives you time to learn about your customers and they you. Also if Adam (the boss) is reading this I do lots of cleaning and tidying!
Do you know the difference between Ale and Beer? Ale is more flavoursome and fragrant, whereas beer/lager is crisp and refreshing.
Can you pull a pint? Of course! Perfect head always!
Do you prefer to be shaken or stirred? Now that’s personal. I love a good shimmy, so somewhere in between.
Whats your favourite tipple? I have a new-found love for gin. We have started stocking an extensive range with complimenting tonics. I’m enjoying myself working through the menu.
What makes you roll your eyes? Bad manners and people who think they are always right.
Are those really your photos on Grindr? I’m not on it (shame Ed.)
What makes a perfect barman/girl? Personality. You can teach a person how to pour a drink, but to give good customer service balanced with banter is something you’ve got or you haven’t.
Where do you like to go out when you’re not working? I go to lunch quite a lot, but also like a good pub. I really enjoy an afternoon bevvy. I go to the Brighton Tavern often as I used to work there before the Bedford, so have lots of friends there. The Grosvenor is another as its close by and friendly. Night time there is only one choice… Bar Broadway! I love a camp tune.
Tell us a secret about yourself? A lady never divulges!
What’s your nickname behind the bar? Tilly (my drag persona for Easter Bonnet).
Are you single or in a relationship? I’ve been with my husband Aaron for over ten years. We got married two years ago.