10 Things I've Learned Since Working in a Pub


A few months ago I decided to take on a second job.

It's a little bit hard to explain but my main job at the moment is in a school... but the truth is I don't earn very much money and with scary adult responsibilities looming over me I need to get a bigger income to pay for bills and save up for a mortgage. 

I know what you're thinking, why don't I just get a different job altogether? Well the simple answer to that is that I actually like my job! I enjoy it! I love making things, being organised and working with and talking to the pupils - although sometimes the staff can be more trouble than the pupils, but that's usually down to stress! 

So I decided instead to branch out into the world of hospitality! In other words, I'm now working behind a bar 2 evenings per week. I knew the manager really well as I do the pub quiz in there every Thursday, and so he didn't even need to interview me, which is lucky, because I get SO nervous before interviews! 

So what do I think? Honestly, like all jobs it has its pros and its cons! I love the people, and although the hours are long and you have to do all the cleaning up afterwards, it's worth it. I come home from my day job at 4pm and go home, get changed and have dinner and then pop out again at half 5, ready to start work at 6pm. On Wednesdays I finish at 11pm and on Fridays I finish at 1am. 

Friday's are tough. Like, really tough! But the atmosphere is great and there's usually live music to help keep me awake.

In honour of this I thought I would put together a quick '10 Things I've Learned' post, in case you're wondering what it's like, or even if you're thinking of working in one.

1. You will get the hang of it! I walked into this job as a complete noob to hospitality and even to alcohol! 

2.  'Sorry', 'excuse me', 'behind you!' and 'mind your backs!' will become your most used phrases. With limited space behind the bar and lots of staff on shift (especially on a Friday and Saturday night) you will get very close to the people you work with.

3. Prepared to get very wet, have sore feet and come home smelling of stale beer. I'm just relieved my work shirt is black! On Fridays especially, I am so frickin' tired and I really can't be bothered to go to work for another 7 hours! But positive thinking will get you through. Smiling, talking and thinking positive thoughts really helps, such as 'I really like you/this' or 'only three hours left'. 

4. People are so messy... and gross! Whenever I go to a pub or out for dinner, I always make a point of piling plates and neatly, and taking empty glasses back up to the bar. It's something I've always done, but recently I've learned that I'm clearly one of very few people who do that. Expect to find shredded up labels or napkins, food in strange places (how??) and anything from chewing gum, coins, cigarette packets and even a tooth (!!!!!!) found in the bottom of beer glasses. Also, FYI, chewing gum in a hot dishwasher... not a good mix!

5. ID everyone who looks under 25! I had absolutely no idea that local authorities 'test' a pub by intentionally sending an under-age person into the pub to buy alcohol. If you serve the child, not only does the pub get fined (and their license put at risk) but also you, as an individual, get hit with an £80 on-the-spot fine! Ouch! The same applies if you serve someone who is drunk!

6. You have the right to refuse service to anyone - as long as you have a good reason of course!

7. Leftover food is amazing! Yes it sounds totally gross, but I once had a customer who left an entire onion ring stack. It hadn't been touched and, with my manager's permission, quickly put it in the fridge for later! Obviously I draw the line at food that has already been half-eaten.

8. Banter... what can I say about the banter... sometimes I like it, sometimes I hate it, it depends on who's saying it and whether it's 'appropriate' or not. I've been made to feel uncomfortable quite a lot to the point where I've spoken to my manager and refused to serve them (see point 6.) but I've also had some great laughs, which helps to pass the time!

9. The staff benefits are so useful! 25% discount across all pubs in the chain? ...Don't mind if I do!

10. Think of the bar staff when you're on a night out! I'm so much more aware now of their feelings and try my best to help where possible. From getting my own drinking straw or cutlery, and piling up my plates after a meal, to just simply smiling and being polite!

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