The Other Side of the Bar

Words & Photo - Matthew Curtis

It's been almost fifteen years since I actually worked behind a bar. Technically I spend a lot of time working in pubs, be it hosting tasting sessions or simply looking for something to write about. But no, I've not worked behind a bar, excluding the odd voluntary shift here and there, since I left my job at the Bottle & Glass in Scothern, Lincolnshire when I was 18 years old. 

I'm going to be doing a lot of exciting stuff with The Duke's Head in Highgate over the next few months. We've got a ton of events in planning already, with our next one being announced this coming Monday. As part of the deal I asked if I could work a few shifts to make ends meet so that my transition to going freelance is a little less bumpy. I'll be pouring drinks, collecting glasses, wiping tables, cleaning lines and learning how to run a good cellar - amongst other things.

There's probably a story in here somewhere about how you can only truly write about pub culture if you immerse yourself in it completely. That sounds a bit pretentious though, and I don't think it to be necessarily true either. I'm just looking forward to selling drinks and talking beer with those that want to. If you're in North London and at a loose end this weekend why not come and prop up my bar and give me hell. I probably deserve it. 

I'm sure a small number of you will have recognised that the pub in the photo is not The Duke's Head but in fact The King's Arms in Bethnal Green. I thought I'd stick this here as a disclaimer before you decide to wander all sea lion-esque into the comments section below.