Oliver Margan

Words by Sammy Hemmings and Ollie Margan

Photography by Havana Club

"Primarily, I want to create a venue whereby guests and staff alike leave feeling enriched and happier than they did arriving," says Ollie Margan, the entrepreneur behind cocktail bar Maybe Mae in Adelaide, Australia.

Since opening its doors in 2014, Maybe Mae has established itself as a forerunner in the Australian bar scene. "The vision I have for Maybe Mae has several levels. On a purely superficial level, I would like to provide a unique brand of service and drinks that attracts long standing support from a discerning clientele," Ollie says.

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For Ollie, sustainable practices and the successful running of his business come hand in hand. "Sustainability in the case of a hospitality business for me is a holistic approach. An environment that works with staff to create a cultural environment that is not exhaustive is what I strive for," he says.

"Environmental care and conscience is at the very core of everything we do," Ollie says. "Over our six years of trade we have developed systems and structures that have greatly decreased our carbon footprint. Our sustainable drink program was recognised in 2018 at the Australian Bar Awards for being the 'Most Sustainable Bar'."

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Ollie's vision is set on the bar's longevity. "True uniqueness, with utmost approachability and familiarity is the long-term goal. That is how you become a 20-year-old bar," he says.

Ollie also considers his presence at the bar important. "Maintaining 3-4 shifts per week behind the bar or on the floor has been crucial to keeping in touch with the venue as it has evolved," he says. "This may seem obvious, but is often not the case, but I am and always have been the face of the venue."

Following the success of Maybe Mae, Ollie has opened seven more venues over five years. "An uncompromising attention to detail is how we have gotten to where we are," he says.

And ultimately, Ollie believes a strong bar team is crucial. "We have a team of people who could all manage venues in their own right, working collectively without clear hierarchy," he says. "In all honesty, there is nothing more that I care about than the relationship I have with my staff. I do believe that if you have their best interests at the fore, they will in turn have yours."