5 Things I Learnt Working in a Bar in Australia

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If you are from the UK, have tried beer and you are old enough to drink (usually) you probably will have tried Fosters. You will at least have seen the Fosters adverts ‘Good Call’ where Aussies Brad and Dan give English people advice from a shed on the beach. (I haven’t been home in three years, so these have probably changed by now). I quite like Fosters actually and it was certainly popular in the pub back home. It is completely marketed as an ‘Aussie’ beer, but it is not a thing in Australia. They don’t drink it and I have not seen it for sale anywhere. I’m pretty sure it is brewed in England.



Back in England if you want a beer you would usually ask for a pint of your choice, or if you are an old lady you might ask for a half pint. I’m just kidding, I drink half pints too, sometimes, when I have to drive, or, well, no I don’t really drink half pints. In Australia, or certainly in Queensland, you have a Schooner or a Pot as your glass choices. A Schooner is not the same size as a pint, it is less. We did serve pints too, but not very often and it was usually UK people that asked for them.




Obviously back home if someone is blind, you stop serving them, but I never really had to ‘cut-off’ people before. Here it seems they are very cautious about people getting drunk – although that could have just been my specific employer. You must also take a ‘Responsible Service of Alcohol’ course and get a certificate, to serve alcohol in any capacity. The RSA must cover the state you are working in, as most states have different rules.




The bane of my life! These are one of the worst drinks to make, they are super frothy and take ages to calm down. Lemon, lime and bitters consists of lemonade, fresh lemon, a dash of lime cordial and a dash of bitters. Not my favourite drink at all, as far as I could tell these were popular with the older folks. Another one is Fire Engines, which are easy to make; raspberry cordial and lemonade – they replace your blackcurrant and lemonade.




Tipping back home in bars is also not really a thing either. But if you have been looked after all night by a bar tender you may offer to buy them a drink, or if you think they are exceptionally cute, I may have done this a couple of times after a few too many. However in America and especially where I was working last in Canada tipping was huge, and bar staff were one of the most sought after jobs – as you made bank in tips. The most I ever made as a bar tender in Australia was New Years Eve and I made almost $50, which is pretty good I think. Most days if I was lucky I would make about $5, but some days I could make 20c. But hey, every little helps towards your weekend box of goon.


So Why Work in a Bar When You Get to Australia?

Working in a bar is just, good fun. Most people are pretty happy and friendly and want to have a good time, plus drunk people love a chat and you hear some pretty amusing stories. You will have crappy customers occasionally, or just down right stupid ones, but you get those in every hospitality job. You can actually make pretty decent money too. Most bar staff will make around $20, and some places will also pay you penalty rates (I believe if you are casual) so for example on Sunday’s I would make around $30 per hour. If you work in a busy weekend bar the customers are always hilarious and some of the antics they get up to will make your night, or piss you off completely! A lot of the bars I have worked in the staff are always really friendly and have great banter, so when you have a good team, it’s not really like work at all.


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