'I am rich in many things' - Christian Hansen

Tell us who you are?

My name is Christian Hansen and I am co-owner of Carlsens Kvarter (pub in Odense, ed.).
I am 47 years old and married to Thomas, with whom I can celebrate my 18th wedding anniversary this year.
I originally trained as a carpenter, was a prison guard and played poker.
16 years ago I was employed at Carlsen's Kvarter , where I have been co-owner with Benny for the past nine years.

Played poker…?
I've always been fascinated by money and always knew I wanted a lot of money, haha…

I quietly started playing with a friend who played at a slightly higher level.
I found that I was good at…

Isn't that a dangerous path to move off of?

I was never taken by the game.
I was amazed that I could make money from something so 'easy'. So I didn't play because I was addicted, but because I could make money. And it went well.

But it's unhealthy for many, and many can't control it.
It's a lifestyle that's primarily online, and sometimes I didn't know if it was day or night. I was alone all the time - and I'm not the type at all. So my husband thought I should get a job where I left home a bit, and so I got a job at the Center pub in Rosengårdcentret.

How did you end up at Carlsen's Kvarter?

The center pub closed when the smoking law was introduced. I was in the A fund and had to apply for four jobs. One of them was at Carlsen's.
I got two of the jobs I applied for, but I didn't get it at Carlsens.

I went in here one afternoon and completely fell in love with the atmosphere. So I called Benny and said he had made the wrong choice. He didn't think so, but a month later he contacted me
again and confirmed that he had. Then I was hired.

Here I met a completely different management style than I was used to. Benny was a completely different boss – sweet, nice and generous. And I just thought 'Wow - this can do something'.

And I have to say that it's a job that helps keep me young, because I have so many young colleagues.

And then you became a co-owner?

Ten years ago we start talking about whether I might be interested in taking over. I said
no, a few times. It wasn't for me and my husband also made a career. So I just thought that
being self-employed meant a lot of working hours.

In the end, Benny told me that if I didn't want to take the plunge, he would sell to someone else. He was 70 at the time. I talked to my husband about it and then I suggested to Benny if we could own it together for a period of time.
He was pleasantly surprised by that. It was exactly what he wanted, but his wife had advised him not to suggest it because I probably wouldn't be interested.

For a month and a half we didn't touch the subject, but then I wrote a letter to Benny outlining how it might look. Without our agreement, he gave me a letter the same day, and the two letters were almost identical. We were in complete agreement down to the details of who would pick up packages.

Carlsen's Kvarter is, after all, an institution in Odense. What is it that you can do?

As a workplace, I find that we employ many students who may start and have
other jobs, but in the end are only here because they are so happy about it.

We have a very loose management style and we are good at creating a good team. I think I'm a good boss - at least that's what the employees say.

As a pub, we are unique in our atmosphere. We get around the tables like in a restaurant. We can accommodate everyone and we create a place where you can sit relaxed and talk with your friends.

Occasionally I go into town with our young employees – you stay young in this job – and can see many regulars at e.g. Amy's. But I also want to believe that the woman who can enter Carlsen's with a bicycle helmet on and first take it off at the table would not wear a bicycle helmet at all on her way to Amy's. You don't have to perform here.

We create a different atmosphere. We are not a scoring place and we take good care of our guests. If we e.g. experience that someone can be too overbearing towards others, we always make sure that what is going on is ok with the guests.

Can you ever be afraid of the competition in Odense?

No. That has to be the short answer.

But.

When Mikkeller was to open in Odense, and I saw how many comments came on a post with
the news made me a little nervous. But it also quickly dawned on me that we are Carlsens, and no one can copy that.

To return to your fascination with money. Have you become rich?

I am rich in many things. I have made some good choices throughout life and made good investments.

My husband and I live a good life, where there is plenty of room for good experiences, and I have a job where I don't feel like I'm going to work but instead pursue my hobby.

What does your attire mean to you?

This might be the wrong place to say it, ha ha… but clothes don't have much value to me.
At Carlsens, the waiters must wear white shirts, but they can choose their own trousers and shoes, and that's all
be comfortable. That's probably how I feel myself.

Having said that, it was really cool and fun to be styled for the pictures here, and I've become a lot
tempted.

A big thank you to Christian Hansen for putting himself up for 'Man of The Month'.