The Great British Pub…
Let’s start by taking a look at (and yes appreciating) an average week of general bar work…
The Drunk Mans Social Worker!
Standing behind that bar you’ve all come to know and love is no mean feat, let me tell you! Above all else a good barmaid is there to listen, not just listen but actively listen. Not to thrust their opinions or advice onto you, but to hear you. Not to share this information with anyone else but to be trustworthy for you. Whether it’s careers, relationships, family issues or anything else; we are there to help our customers when they feel they need to unload and/or vent their problems.
When it comes to people skills it’s just never ending for a good bar person… we are the drunk man’s social worker and we excel in the reading of body language, we have to, it becomes second nature.
Time for leaning? Time for cleaning!
Of course there’s the boring old ‘general daily duties’, some of which are very much forgotten by those on the preferred side of the bar. From filling fridges to sterilising nozzles; from keeping the toilets stocked with hand towels and loo rolls to cleaning shelves and renovating glasses; there is never a moment when working behind a bar where there is ‘nothing to do’. From collecting glasses that are laced with customer saliva to scrubbing toilets when the latest victim of the dreaded Jager Bomb has brought up the contents of their takeaway delivery from earlier in the evening… ah yes, the list is endless, and we do it for you!
The Boring Stuff!
Now that’s a minefield of information you have to learn and keep constantly up to date with. For those of you that aren’t yet aware, a licensee and their team must aim to achieve four Licensing Objectives.
- The prevention of crime and disorder – fighting, drugs, under age drinking, adhering to licensing hours… an endless list, thank goodness for CCTV!
- Public safety – everything from fire risk assessments being in place all the way through to mopping up spills, it is our job to keep you safe!
- The prevention of public nuisance – yep thats right, you lot have to behave yourself too and if you don’t that can affect our licence, so when you think I’m being harsh laying down the law, this is why!
- The protection of children from harm – the reason we have strict laws about ID’ing (sorry, but we have to do it) and also the reason kids have to leave at 7pm…. wobbly, loud and occasionally potty mouthed people and kids don’t make a good combination!
Without boring you further or blowing my amazing team’s trumpets, there’s a million other things they do… event planning, door (wo)man, Dj’ing, preparing and hosting quizzes, decorating, cellar management, waitressing, advertising and PR, and much much more… and all of this with a (sometimes difficult to maintain) SMILE ON THEIR FACE!
Now let’s take a look at an average pub clientele…
Let’s start by looking at the younger end of the market, a difficult place to be in the grand scheme of things given the amount of people that roll their eyes when they get a bit loud or swear a bit too much…. but have some understanding towards them; we are talking about the young adults who are learning to socialise as mature adults and I personally feel that (as the more mature adults) we have a duty of care towards them. They are joining teams for the first time (pool, darts etc) and learning to become a team player, they are learning to conduct themselves properly in the adult world and learning a whole load of new rules and boundaries. They are no longer in-betweeners and are stepping out into the big wide world! These guys depend upon pub staff to enforce the rules and also on the older pub goers to set them a reasonable example; without us doing this how would they ever learn pub etiquette?
Then there’s the singletons, most of us have been there at some point.
It may be that they just simply crave the social interaction and safe environment that a pub has to offer to someone going out alone. If you give it some proper thought there are so many reasons a person could be single; divorce, widowed, cheated on or just by their own personal choice.
Alongside that comes so many reasons they need social interaction. If I were to hazard a guess I would say that this group of people are the ones who rely most heavily on a warm, safe pub environment with a full menu of friendship, companionship, laughter and support. Maybe they are also looking for companionship from other singletons with the possibility of forming a relationship and even going on to make families together. Name me one person who doesn’t know someone who met in a pub and are still going strong years down the line, I could name a few!!
Then there’s couples. AAhhhhh we all know the ones, they have their ups and downs right beneath our noses. One night sitting in a quiet corner giggling and whispering to one another; the next night sat at opposite sides of the pub throwing out daggers to one another after what will eventually seem like a silly argument over nothing once everyone’s sobered up. Sound familiar?
When you take the time to think about it (and let’s face it we all have a lot more time on our hands lately), a pub environment to them is a place to go to get to know one another better, to unwind together, to take a break from the kids together, to laugh, love, sing, dance and make memories together. But it’s also a place to go with the lads or the girls to take a break from one another whilst keeping your independent life alive.
Then there’s the after work crew! The tea time mob! They’ve put up with a load of sh*t all day from their boss, or colleagues, maybe even been bullied by work peers. They want a smiling face behind the bar and a few of the lads to have a laugh with and forget their worries, even if it is just for an hour or so. Sounds so simple right? But something as simple as an hour in the pub can bring a great deal of calm to these guys lives.
Then there’s the old boys, we all know (and massively love) the ones, they sit in the same place night after night and put the world to rights. They reminisce; they throw out endless banter; they laugh together; they are the only ones that can talk politics and religion in a pub without wanting to kill one another! They have such a strong bond with one another and have seen one another everyday for as many years as some of us have been alive! They need this interaction. They need their people. They need the pub!
Then there’s families. Sunday afternoons in the pub with the kids having a game of pool with dad, watching the football, relaxing and spending quality time together. I have some of the fondest memories as a child of being in the pub with my parents… it’s where I learnt to play pool, crib, darts and a whole host of other interactive activities. As social development goes, the pub was high up on my list of teachers.
Community and Family Hub
The pub is THE best community and family hub you can possibly have. It’s where friendships are kept alive. Christmas Day was particularly special to me, the first one in our new pub and I was surrounded by the people I love dearly and see daily/weekly. From gender reveal parties right the way through to funeral wakes. Every event you can think of is celebrated in a pub! Sharing special family moments is massively important to us all and where better to do it than in a safe, comfortable pub where you are left with not even a fork to wash up and no cleaning up trodden-in cake at the end of your special day?
It’s also a place where many a community meeting is held. Friends of Mossley Park, Mossley Town Team, Morris Dancers, Musicians jam sessions, you name it, it’s been held in a pub at some time!
Here’s a very much forgotten but hugely important part of pub life. Can you even begin to imagine how much money is raised in pubs for charity? There’s the Royal Legion selling poppies, there are charity days and nights held right across the board, there are charity boxes on most bars and sponsorship forms on walls and notice boards. Pubs do a lot to raise money, this can’t be denied or overlooked!
There’s a pretty good chance that in their life every single person who is physically capable has spent time in a pub somewhere…. so let’s all champion the good old fashioned traditional Great British Pub for what it is!