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What Pub experience do I need?

Short answer – None. Pub experience is a bonus as far as the managers are concerned, not a requirement.

When I started working at a sports bar in Earls Court in London I had never before pulled a pint in my life. Pretty much every other working holiday maker you will meet will be in the same situation as you. Some of you may have completed a certificate in food and alcohol serving, which should make the on-the-site training a bit easier to take in. You also may have had previous restaurant / pub experience waiting tables – again this makes the job easier for you to get the hang of it, which is a plus, but it's not necessary and management really don't care.

90% of your pub training will come from your fellow working holiday workmates. Pay attention, listen carefully when you're told something, try not to make the same mistake more than twice and you'll be fine.

Often you will find that the boys stay behind the bars and make the drinks and the girls work the tables. Call it sexist but it is quite obvious that girls earn far better tips than the boys.
That's not to say that you won't find girls pouring beers or blokes serving food, it's just yet another generalisation.

winding road uk


“God sends us meat, the devil sends us cooks”




Be wary of the kitchen staff. Chefs like to shout a lot, in their loud and busy environment it's what they're used to, and they can also be quite unforgiving. Do yourself a favour and take it all in as a learning experience – Don't get hung up on arguments about anything petty or small, it's just not worth the stress.

-note- Working in pubs in the UK doesn't necessarily mean pouring drinks or waiting tables. If your prior pub experience extends to the kitchen why not try work as a chef? You'll earn more (although not much) and you won't be working till midnight - although you will be starting earlier in the mornings.

Got pub experience and ready for a live-in pub job? Then deal with the free pub job agencies

You may find that you love the job and love the atmosphere and would like the opportunity to progress into a supervisory or management position. Now while this is rather uncommon, it is possible to move up – but you would have to make yourself very important and irreplaceable to management. Most places won't go to the effort for a 'temporary' employee on a working holiday visa.

Remember – the pay is so low because there are thousands of people just like you getting off the planes everyday to start their adventures, sorry to say but you really aren't that important to a pubs success, if you make yourself a problem, you can find yourself unemployed and homeless within 12 hours – it happened to me :P

Once you've worked in one pub you'll find it easy to work pretty much anywhere. It will just be a case of learning the menus, the beers and wines (by tasting them) and the computer systems.

Variety is the spice of life, I myself have worked in a ridiculously busy sports bar in Chelsea, as well as an award winning 'Gastro' pub in Warwick. I've served drinks for Lords and Ladies in Stratford-on-Avon, almost killed myself working 5 days straight without one single hour of sleep in Manchester and I've even met a real Princess of Prussia!

Once you have pub experience you've got it forever, who knows where you'll end up.

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