Mama Candy Retiring From Bow Bow Cocktail Lounge, Giving Place to Bartender
Larger than life Chinatown bartender Mama Candy hasn’t been seen much lately, as her famed karaoke dive bar Bow Bow Cocktails has been closed throughout the pandemic. But Bow Bow Cocktails will run a little differently when it reopens in the next few weeks. SFGate reports that Mama Candy is retiring, but leaving the bar to one of her most senior bartenders.
Mama Candy, whose real name is Hsiu-Mei Wong, has owned Bow Bow since 1986 after immigrating from Taiwan in 1971. And not much is going to change, as she’s leaving the place to bartender Jenny Han, who’s served them up there for 20 years.
While Mama Candy is retiring, she plans to remain a barfly and mingle with the regulars. “She won’t be gone,” Han’s daughter Rao Fu tells SFGate. “She enjoys drinking and meeting up with friends and she already talked to my mom and said, ‘If you need help, I’ll come.'”
According to SFGate, Han “plans to reopen the bar in late August/early September as soon as the Alcoholic Beverage Control paperwork goes through.”
And in a happy ending, Han plans to keep the place the exact same. “That was her first bartender job, she’s worked there for 20 years,” Fu said, referring to her mom. “It’s kind of her home, her lifetime career, her everything.”