Pubpaper 742 – Interloper at the Landlords Day Out

Posted: 11th January 2014 by santobugtio in Pub Paper, Writing

You’d imagine that going to pub as a landlord is a bit of a busman’s holiday. Knowing how beer should be kept, a bar should be ran and what goes on behind the scenes means you possibly judge others by your standards. Over Christmas, being a landlord could be akin to cabin fever with long hours being stuck in the same building for an extended period, servicing the increased numbers of customers which hit you over December, ensuring you make enough money to cover the quieter early winter months.

No wonder come January 2nd, they just want to get out and have a drink yourself while other people do all the work. I was invited out to join the Postcard Inn (Holmfirth) team day out in Halifax on that very date, but sadly I have to make a living from 9-5 so had to make do with a few hours in the evening. The party was fairly well oiled after 8 hours of drinking when I met them at Cookies. Also with the party were the people who run the Sportsman in Halifax, and a mere 5 yards away were Hugh and Ruth from the Cross Keys at Siddal after a day of being on the other side of the bar.

The people in the party who ran pubs vastly outnumbered the people who purchased beer from these same people. I work with pubs on various projects, but the closest I get to serving beer is my cover shifts on the bar at Ramfest each year during busy periods. I had to admit the I’ve either never been to the Sportsman or if I had it was a very long time ago despite living on Beacon Hill for 16 years come February. That night I also visited the Westgate in Halifax for the first time since 1998, and we were the only people in the pub, something that was probably happening across many pubs the day after New Years Eve. It made me realise than in 16 years I have been to a lot of our pubs, but I’ve also not visited an equally big amount, for example its took me 16 years to visit the Commercial / Railway in Brighouse.

One thing I garnered from this night, from a relatively sober point of view as a 2 pint driver, is that people who run pubs can really neck some beer when they get their drinking heads on. I can do long sessions, but generally if I start early, I’m done by 8-9 at night, my ideal start time is 4 or 5pm, and then I can happily go through to last orders with enough physical presence to get myself home. Another thing I gathered is that how late the finish is for landlords on New Years Day, with a certain elf hat wearing pub owner not getting to bed before 7.30am in the morning, with others reporting at least a 4.30am finish.

Last week I saw a program about the body clock and it stated that people fall into 2 camps, Larks (early risers) and Owls (late sleepers). If you work in a pub with the now later closing hours, you naturally have be to some degree an Owl by the time you have cleaned up, cashed up and wound down from the working day, and at the same time if you receiving beer deliveries early in the morning, you need to cope on relatively short sleep cycles. While on paper running a pub should be my ideal job, I just don’t think my need for sleep and naturally being a lark who operates best early in the morning would suit it.

But as one person that night told me, its not just the people who run / own the pub that matter, it is the staff who you employ that make their life a lot easier. A good set of staff will take the pressure off you and allow you to relax for a time on the other side of the bar, upstairs or elsewhere and not have to worry that the pub, beer, takings or customers won’t be there when you return to the working side of the bar. It doesn’t matter if they have been in the trade for 30 years or a matter of months, they are the heart of the trade and it is a job you enjoy or you don’t and it is clear to the customers which camp you belong in immediately.