Publicans manage licensed premises, such as pubs and bars.
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What does a publican do?

A publican's duties could include:

  • organising deliveries
  • making sure the bar area is stocked and well maintained
  • making sure customers are served quickly
  • running the bar in line with health, safety and legal regulations
  • recruiting, training and supervising bar staff and kitchen staff
  • stocktaking
  • handling wages, bookkeeping and accounts
  • building good relationships with breweries, suppliers and customers
  • carrying out plans to maximise sales

This role may also be responsible for enforcing the law on the sale of alcohol on the premises, issuing an age-identification policy and making sure all staff use it. Some publicans may employ a bar manager to carry out some of these duties,.

Publicans are often employed to run a pub or bar on behalf of a pub chain or brewery. Leaseholders, tenants and free traders are business people who put their own money into the pub and business. 


What do I need to do to become a publican?

To get started in this career, you will find it useful to have experience in customer service at a supervisory level, and some experience of bar work.

Another way to start your career would be through a graduate management trainee scheme run by a large pub chain. You would then be employed to run the pub on behalf of the chain. To get onto a scheme you will usually need some relevant work experience. You will also need a degree or HND level qualification in an area such as:

  • business
  • marketing
  • hotel and catering
  • hospitality management with licensed retail

Related skills

  • Creativity
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Leadership
  • Numeracy
  • Organisation
  • Physical fitness

Desirable qualifications

  • Degree or HND-level qualification in business, marketing, hotel and catering, or hospitality management with licensed retail

Where to find out more


Where could I be working?

You could be employed by a brewery or chain to manage a pub or bar, or you could be self-employed as a tenant or freeholder.


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