Interview by Dwayne Lum
“Let your Soul Rock!” would be a phrase that the Director of Singapore’s very first Love the World Soul Rock Bistro and Bar, Mr Samuel Seong Koon, would say to his patrons.
Established in December 2008, the bistro and bar has been attracting droves of people through its fantastic ambience, food, music and excellent customer service.
Intricately designed and well-furnished, Love the World’s cozy, dimly lit interior creates the ideal ambience for couples and friends to chill out. Overlooking Singapore’s waters and the newly added F1 Racetrack, the bistro and bar extends out to a spacious alfresco where patrons can enjoy the fresh sea breeze and a picturesque landscape of the bay.
The Christian-themed bar also displays Christian jokes as a way to let patrons know that walking with God can be fun as well.
Melvin Koh, General Manager and member of Love the World’s resident band, Chapter One, found here his ministry in fulfilling the Great Commission through God’s gift to him in music.
One unique fact about the business is that help comes from volunteers who are part of the management. These include Ms Jennifer Lim; designer of the establishment’s logo, Irene Wong; artwork designer for murals, posters and flyers and many others like Kenny Teo, Gerri Lim and Joel Chandra.
Seong Koon also intends to “exponentially” grow a chain of these bars to cater to the rest of Singapore and in the region. In a brief interview with him, Samuel believes that “if Hard Rock Café can do it, why can’t [he]?”
City News caught Seong Koon and Koh for quick insights into the history of the bar after a YK Zone event held here on Sunday, 26 April 2009.
|PHOTOS: Koh Meng Kwang|
CN: The ambience of this place is fantastic! What was your drawing inspiration of this bar?
Seong Koon: We want to mirror what is said in John 3:16; that is, to love the world and to spread the message of the gospel. Over here, we have a motto to “Let Music Show the Way”, because neither of us are theologians, nor are we pastors and as such, we spread the Good News through our music and the testimony of this bistro and bar.
CN: Wow that is a great motto! But why a bistro and bar? Why not a coffee joint or a casual diner?
Seong Koon: I prefer the concept of a bistro and bar as the intention is to not only cater to friends and families, but to youths, business people and most especially, pre-believers. We also want people to know that biblically, that there are no problems with drinking and having a great time. However, the bible does not encourage one to indulge in drunkardness. That is where we need to draw the line.
CN: Sounds great! What would be the main selling point of the bar? Do you have any signature foods or drinks?
Koh: Our main selling point would definitely be the music that we offer. We tend to focus most of our efforts on producing good music. In fact, we had, prior to the opening of this establishment, practiced together for over a year. It is of utmost importance that the music is of an excellent quality as patrons, especially pre-believers, have to be impressed and impacted by what they see and hear.
Seong Koon: We specialize in Pan-Asian cuisine, which comprises a mixture of Asian and Western cooking styles. Some of our signatures include Chicken and Prawns in Viet Rice Paper Roll, Padang Oven Baked Chicken, Avocado and Prawn Salad and Cabonara ala LTW (Love the World). We also offer premium house wines at affordable prices. The Love Snow, a sangria-based cocktail, is also one of our latest creations.
We also serve people their daily “Crucial Fix”; a pun on the world Crucifix (laughs), which comprises a selection of coffees and thirst-quenchers.
CN: I’ve noticed that your bar has LCD screens which display Christian jokes. What is the purpose of those jokes?
Seong Koon: (laughs) We believe that Christianity is neither dull nor boring. As such, we have decided to display Christian jokes to let believers and non-believers know that they can have fun whilst serving and following God.
CN: Tell us more about your in-house entertainment. Can anyone just go on stage and perform?
Koh: We have open-mike performances every night. No auditions are required at all. With regards to live acts, we live by faith in God that all the performers have some degree of musicality when they go up on stage (laughs). We have been holding concerts and performances for upcoming Christian musicians and would like to be a venue that supports local and regional talent.
CN: Has anyone gotten drunk in your bar? What would be your response toward criticism in serving alcoholic drinks?
Seong Koon: Up till today, we haven’t encountered anyone who was drunk on alcohol. We also do not advocate an overindulgence in alcohol. Many Christians, priests and pastors come to our bar and support our stand on drinking, although, a few conservatives have raised an issue regarding this. In response to this, we politely suggest alternative, non-alcoholic beverages for consumption.
CN: One final question. If Jesus were to walk into your bar today, what would you offer him?
Seong Koon: Well, since Jesus asked the Samaritan Woman for a glass of water, I would offer him our very own Singaporean Water. I would also offer him our latest creation, the Frozen Sangria as he miraculously turned water into wine.
Koh: I second that!
To find out more about Soul Rock Bistro and Bar, head to lovetheworldsoulrock.com