A question that I ask myself a lot and others also ask of me a lot is why? Why would a career man give up and take a pub and why would he show such determination to do it?
I have explored the question on here before but think it has some more mileage especially since I will doubtless be asking myself many more times over the future! Well I guess the truth is that we all need a purpose, I have worked hard all of my life but when it comes down to it all that does is put money in the bank or, more commonly, in the ex wifes bank! It doesn’t create anything and it doesn’t present a real purpose it’s just an exercise in killing time and ensuring that a wage comes in.
Don’t get me wrong I am good at what I do and I bring in a good wage but when I retire that will be it, over in a blink, no legacy, no product you just stop and that’s it. I don’t want that, I want to have some small impact on the world, some association that can be seen by all and not just colleagues, I want to build something.
Why a pub? why not? oh ok I know there’s a million reasons why not please don’t list them! But really its a trade I like and its a trade suited to me, I am a people person it’s what I do day in and day out I meet people and make them the centre of the world, make them important and valued and listened to. I know I am an Engineer but the success that I have comes from making every client and every supplier feel top of the chain and that’s what drives the licensed trade, the feeling that I am more than a customer I am your friend.
Thats the success of good pubs, I watch my old mate Dave and how he gets ‘buy one get one free’ with employment because someones Mrs works for him so the Mr will help out because he is ‘a mate of Dave’s’, and I watch how that wage is recovered twice over when the same couple frequent their ‘mates’ bar. This is not, of course, to infer that there is anything underhand or cynical in this relationship because there isn’t its just the way that the trade works when it works well. The publican should oversee and facilitate a community effort, in so doing the community ‘own’ the venue and the publican simply manages it and this sense of ownership is far more powerful than promotions or advertising.
It’s an odd choice and I can’t deny that but if you have traded a pub and felt the lonely misery of a quiet shift but then seen it melt away with one busy night, if you have watched families at wakes and birthdays and met all layers of the community then you will either be grateful to have escaped or you will be desperate to return and I am most clearly the later.