‘Bored’ expat reconnects patrons to Singapore’s shuttered bars

Giuliano “Gino” Gottini atop the bar map he built at Sipp.Me. Images: Courtesy
Giuliano “Gino” Gottini atop the bar map he built at Sipp.Me. Images: Courtesy

What pet project have you accomplished while stuck at home during the pandemic? One man used his time to call nearly 300 bars in Singapore and Bangkok – his two favorite cities – one by one every day for weeks to ask how they were getting by.

The fruits of his labor just launched at Sipp.me, which connects people directly to the delivery or gift certificate options at their favorite watering holes. It’s the work of Giuliano “Gino” Gottini, a Bangkok resident who said his passion project was born of boredom during the months-long COVID-19 outbreak which closed the bars in both places.

He said he spent weeks reaching out to about 80 bars in Singapore as well as a couple hundred in Bangkok to find out if and how they offered delivery or gift vouchers.

“Yes, I was that bored,” Gottini said.

He receives no commission or compensation of any kind, and said he just did it to help out struggling business owners and their employees.

Saying he was inspired by a Coconuts story about bars offering delivery and gift cards, Gottini said he decided to collect his own data to cover as many bars as possible, big or small, and build a locational “bar portal” service. 

Sipp can be found on the web as well as in app form on Google Play. Bar owners can add their venues online

The simple, searchable website and app list local bars and displays them on a map.

There, viewers can see bars in their vicinity and click directly to access their delivery or gift voucher services, whether via a third-party delivery service or social media. They can also save their favorite bars for easy future access. 

These are not just stores selling alcohol, these are the workplaces of bartenders and waiters who have become our friends,” Gottini, 25, said. “People who provide us with delicious drinks and meals with a smile.”

The Italian-South African marketing and programming contractor grew up in the Netherlands and South Africa before moving to Bangkok nearly two years ago. He says he never wants to live elsewhere. 

Denying that he’s a heavy boozehound himself, Gottini said he enjoys going out to a bar for “a beer or two.” 

Singapore’s bars have been shut since March and restaurants are only allowed to operate through takeaway and delivery. Bars are among the last to resume businesses in Singapore and won’t reopen until a few months. 

Gottini said he feels for their owners and employees.

“It’s like a small part of my life is missing,” he said.

Asked what he gets from the one-man project, Gottini said he doesn’t expect a single baht. 

All I ask of you is to hop on, share the site to your friends and on social media and order a few drinks or buy a gift card from your favorite bars,” Gottini said. 

Other stories to check out:

Singapore bars, cinemas, nightclubs to close till end-April due to COVID-19

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