Bar Management

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It is beyond dispute that public houses have long been central to Irish social life. This is because a good pub offers more than a selection beers and spirits – it offers a welcoming environment where you can interact with friends and strangers alike.

However, pubs face a number of challenges. Chief among these is competition from off-licenses and supermarkets. As a result, prudent pub management is a necessity. Managers are involved at every level of running an establishment. That includes front-of-house duties, stock control, marketing and events, staff recruitment and training. You will need to be versatile, have leadership skills and a healthy work ethos. In addition, you’ll need to have a friendly, customer-focused demeanour too.


Cork Institute of Technology offers a three-year Degree in Bar Management (BBus). First semester modules include:

  • Licensed Premises Regulations
  • Management Principles
  • Business Maths for Hospitality

Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology’s also offers a three-year Bachelor of Business in Bar Management (Level 7). Among the modules given are:

  • Business and Company Law
  • HR Management
  • Tourism Studies

Dublin Institute of Technology’s four-year Degree in Bar Management and Entrepreneurship (Level 8) lists Communications, Hygiene and Safety, and Bar Preparation and Service among its first-year modules.

Underpinning the theoretical aspects is a focus on gaining practical experience through work placement in approved Irish bars or hotels. Students learn from an experienced industry professional during their internship.

Two-year Level 6 courses are another option. Letterkenny and Athlone ITs  offer Bar Supervision courses (Letterkenny’s course also includes Restaurant Supervision). In these, students receive thorough instruction in bar skills and customer communication, as well in the business principles of the industry.

The Work

In some respects bar managers are like plate spinners: both must balance several things once.

Bar management is not an easy job. It comes with plenty of responsibilities, such as maintaining hygienic standards, enforcing health and safety regulations, managing accounts and manpower, creating a pleasant working environment and, above all else, keeping the customer happy. Bar managers work long, unsociable hours and, due to the hectic nature of the job, they will need to be in possession of a large store of energy and enthusiasm.

However, it is also a job that will bring you into contact with all kinds of interesting folk and it will almost certainly keep you on you toes by throwing up a variety of new and unexpected challenges at every turn. Depending on your level of experience, you may choose what kind of work environment you’d prefer to be in – from sleepy rural taverns to beat-thumping party extravaganzas to sun-baked cocktail bars on foreign shores. The versatility that good bar managers must have also affords them a choice of several career paths – some may end up in catering or in marketing, while others may look at someday setting up a business of their own.

Did you know?

The Sumerians, those far-sighted innovators from antiquity, are credited with leaving us with the earliest recipe for beer. The 4,000-year-old Hymn to Ninkasi, written on a stone tablet, gives instructions on how to brew beer from barley. Thanks!

Further Resources

Vintners Federation of Ireland

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