Working at an expat bar in Tokyo is like getting paid to interact in the foreign community living room where new and old foreigners can relax, get a pint and have a good conversation in one’s native language. Jobsinjapan.com sits down with Paul Gibson who manages the famed Hobgoblin British Pub in Shibuya.
Just a two-minute walk from the famed Hachiko statute in front of Shibuya station lies the Hogoblin British Pub nestled under the shadow of the adjacent Mark City. It is one of a chain of three such pubs in Tokyo, which have been a mainstay in the city’s ex-pat bar scene since 1999.
The Hobgoblin sells craft beer from the Hobgoblin breweries in England along with traditional British pub food, spirits, ciders, bitters, and a generous selection of other beers. The patrons are mix group of ex-pats, old and young in professions varying from English teachers to stock brokers while the Japanese tend to be people working in and around Shibuya. The atmosphere is distinctly “international,” and centers around an extensive schedule of live sporting events on big screen TV’s. When a major rugby or soccer match is on, expect standing room crowds. There are also regular events such as quiz nights, Meet Up events and an occasional live music performance.
Paul Gibson, who hails from Kent near London, has been the manager of the Shibuya branch since 2008. He currently manages a crew of 15 employees (10 Japanese and 5 foreigners). When including the Akasaka Hobgoblin, Roppongi Hobgoblin and its adjacent sports bar, Legends, the Hobgoblin group employs over 60 people, who work in two shifts seven days a week. Between full-timers and part-timers there almost always seems to be a shift in need of new staff.
Paul describes the work environment as fast-paced but exciting. It is a place where staff will meet and interact with a wide swath of the foreign community in Tokyo and meet all sorts of interesting people. Applicants who are friendly and outgoing with high energy levels have the best chance of being hired. Casual dress is fine, but neat appearance and being well-groomed are important.
The Hobgoblin is actively seeking applications for the positions of bartender, waiter/waitresses, and cooks and chefs. For the kitchen staff no Japanese language ability is necessary, but basic Japanese conversation is necessary for floor staff, and English proficiency is required for all positions. A proper visa to work in Japan such as working holiday, student, cultural, spouse, etc., is required.
Applicants currently residing overseas should wait until arrival in Japan before contacting the Hobgoblin as the first step will be to ask the applicant to come in for an interview. Thus, the person must be physically in Japan to apply.