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The secret life of bar staff

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Heading for some messy nights out after exams? Spare a thought for Nottingham’s hard-working student bar staff. Impact sat down with Hannah from Ocean and Rob from Wetherspoons to discuss drunk students, Trent vs. Uni and how to survive a night out in Notts.

HANNAH STILES – OCEAN

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Ocean boss Andy Hoe is a legend in Nottingham. What’s it like working for him?
He’s an absolute babe! He’s flexible and recognises that Ocean is a student nightclub and has student staff. He makes allowances for coursework deadlines and stuff.

We have to ask: who is more rowdy – Trent or Uni?
You’d expect Uni to be nicer, but actually Trent are really polite! They’re pretty sober and say “please” and “thank you”. Uni are just wankered all the time…

Do you get chatted up a lot at the bar?
Yeah! (laughs) But I think the guys are just practising on the barmaids! We can’t exactly walk off with them, can we? But none of them are horrible, it’s all friendly banter.

I think the guys are just practising on the barmaids!

Any embarrassing stories?
Not really – people aren’t that bad at Ocean. And I normally work at the upstairs bar, which is less busy!

Has your job changed how you view student nights out?
I’m a lot more self-aware about going out and getting drunk! I don’t want to be the annoying person at the bar the staff has to deal with.

Any advice for students seeking bar or club work in Nottingham?
Just be really friendly. I got my job because I am an outgoing person. You really have to go out and actively seek it. There’s lots of work out there in the city and they’re looking for students.

ROB SCHOFIELD – WETHERSPOONS

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We hear you’ve landed a job at the Hu-Stu bar. Are you prepared for the Campus 14?
I’ve heard about guys who distract the bar staff, while their friends lean over and try and take money out of the till or steal the barman’s phone! It’s a bigger problem than people think.

Has your job changed your view of student nights out?
Bar staff have a lot of responsibility. Not only are there the laws that state what you can serve to people depending on how drunk they are, but you also have to look after anyone who is in a bad state or potentially being taken advantage of. But one thing that has massively changed this year has been the lack of students going out. Maybe it’s because of the fee rise, but people are no longer going to university just to get drunk! They’re a lot more conscious about their degree.

One thing that has massively changed is the lack of students going out.

Do you have any advice for people who want to get into bar work?
I think you’ve just got to be proactive about it, I had no experience of any bar work when I applied for my job at Wetherspoons, but there’s nothing they can’t teach you. Everyone has to start somewhere.

Any funny/embarrassing stories?
It’s always awkward when you see a guy try and chat up a girl, and she’s obviously not interested!

Have you ever been chatted up at the bar?
It happens quite a lot… sometimes in good instances but not always. You often get some middle-aged women who have had a bit too much to drink!

Interviews by Sarah Dear, Will Hazell and Izzy Scrimshire. Image: Aaron Crowe.

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