To cover a few basic questions that I have received in my time as a pub owner, I have compiled the answers.

What do you do about a bar fight?

If you can stop it without getting anyone hurt, that would be best. It’s unfortunate to involve the police unnecessarily, but always call if the situation seems potentially dangerous.

What do you do if a patron has gotten obviously drunk?

This is a very important question. After watching how many the person has consumed and how they are behaving, ensure they have a designated driver. If they do not, call a cab and have them delivered home, regardless of whether he says he’s fit to drive. One pissed off customer is better than risking the lives of others or risking your business.

Are appetizers necessary?

Not necessary, but nice to have. If you’re just starting, you’ll want to stick to a small menu regardless. But appetizers are usually what the late-night patrons will order to share with their friends or have at happy hour. It’s a nice menu perk for sure.

Do I need to serve food at the pub?

Yes! Absolutely. Not only does it continue with the Irish tradition, it ensures that your patrons are not enjoying their Guinnesses on empty stomachs. And it will bring in additional profit, as long as you get enough traffic for a lunch menu.

Do you need to be Irish to run an Irish pub?

Yes and no. While ideally running an Irish pub is best done by the Irish for authenticity, it is not necessary. But honestly you should pretend to be Irish. There is a high immigrant population in modern Ireland, so realistically anyone can say that they have Irish heritage. Let it just be part of your pub.

What are the crucial things to get started?

  1. Location! You need to be in a non-residential neighborhood, preferably near other bars and restaurants. You do not want to upset the community with noise, as can happen with Irish pubs.


  1. Create a business plan. Know where your money is coming from, keep track of expenses and focus on what the profit goal is for the pub. The profits will change as time goes on, but you initially need to know where to start.


  1. Get a liquor license and acquaint yourself with local ordinances. Know if you have to have last call at 2:00 am or 12:00 am. Keep your business safe.


  1. Hire a friendly and knowledgeable staff. Having poor quality in your staff will put out a negative word very quickly and keep patrons from returning.

Can you drink while on the job?

Legally? Perhaps. Should you? No way. You are responsible for everyone in your pub. If patrons drink and drive, you know that it will come back on you. You need to be on your guard. While it’s great that the patrons have fun, it is your job to manage the fun, not engage in it.

What are the start-up costs?

Ideally you need to have enough money on hand to survive at least a year, maybe more. You will most likely not turn a profit immediately and you don’t want to put yourself out of business before you’ve even begun.