Legal top tips: advice working at licensed premises

With a son who has just started a part-time job working behind a bar while at university, it seemed the right time to share the pearls of wisdom I have given him on some of the things he needs to watch out for.

Ask for full training on not only statutory requirements, but also on company policy when working behind the bar.

Ensure that a personal licence holder has provided you with written authority to sell alcohol. It doesn’t need to be in writing but it is sensible to have it in writing.

Make sure you know where the refusals register is, in the event that any sale of alcohol is refused to a customer. Is it held electronically, or is there a paper version you need to complete?

If you are a personal licence holder, make sure you have your personal licence with you when working.

Your employer must make spirits available in singles of either 25ml or 35ml. It is not possible to sell both 25ml or 35ml and one or the other must be adopted.

If a customer asks you for a ‘lager or beer’ but doesn’t specify which measurement, then make sure (unless they are a regular and you already know) that you ask what measure they would like.

Ensure that wine is available by the glass in 125ml measures
If a customer asks for a glass of tap water, this must be provided free of charge

Make sure that the price of alcohol is displayed so that customers can make an informed decision as to what they want to buy. It is not necessary to display the price of each and every item but, rather, a selection of items to make sure that such a decision can be made by a customer.

If there are gaming machines in the premises, then these should be in the clear line of sight of the bar, and you should ensure that you keep an eye on whether or not anybody who you suspect to be under the age of 18 is playing on these machines. Normally, the same Challenge 21 or Challenge 25 policy used for alcohol would be adopted for the playing of these machines.

Remember the danger of ‘passing o​ff’ one product for another. If you are asked for ‘vodka and diet Coke’ but you sell Pepsi, then make it clear that it is Pepsi.

Make sure you are familiar with your employer’s age verification policy.

Remember to consider at the start of each shift what date of birth you are looking for on the identification. Just because identification is produced, it does not mean the person is over 18

Don’t rely on door staff​ to check for age – it is your responsibility to ensure that you do not sell alcohol to anybody under the age of 18, which is a criminal offence

Be vigilant of proxy sales, i.e., people over 18 buying for those under 18
Finally, although it can be very difficult, you need to ensure that you do not sell alcohol to anybody who is intoxicated, since this is also a criminal offence.

A lot to remember, but great experience and some cash to go travelling with!

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