There’s a romanticised view of pubs in Britain, to many they’re an institution with community at its heart. But there’s a dark side to the industry, which seems to be ignored – the misogynist treatment of female bar staff.
Amy*, 23, works in a city centre pub in Nottingham and she is appalled at how some male customers act .
“Some of the things I hear while working is shocking to be honest, I know for a fact some of the men saying inappropriate and creepy things have got families who’d be mortified to hear what their dad or husband was saying to me”
I wonder if the issue isn’t really well known because pubs have a predominantly male customer base.
“I do think that because there’s so many men that come in that people don’t really notice it that much but just because a lot of customers are men it doesn’t give them the right to objectify women.”
Amy has been working behind a bar since she was 18 and has learned how to deal with inappropriate comments.
“If a customer comes in and says something about me or another member of staff I’ve got the experience to tell them they’re out of order, but it’s not as easy for others especially if they’re new, they get quite intimidated.”
I ask if there are any situations that stick in her mind over her years of working behind a bar.
“There was one time at my old job a regular in his early forties found my Facebook and started messaging me asking me to sleep with him. I was really shaken up by it and blocked him. My manager barred him after that and I never saw him again.”
Even through this, Amy wouldn’t change working behind a bar for the world.
“I love working in pubs, most of the time customers have really interesting stories and over time regulars become sort of a family. It’s a shame there are sad men out there that put a lot of girls off working in pubs.”
*Surname not included to protect subject’s identity.