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Be Inspired Series

Paul McGovern

James Street South Bar & Grill

East Belfast man, Paul McGovern, 36, is the manager of The Bar & Grill at James Street South, a cool restaurant based in Belfast’s city centre where the emphasis is on serving locally produced food with flair and passion.

Tell us about your day:

The unwelcome sound of the alarm shrills – generally I hit the snooze button a few times to earn me another 15 minutes in bed

I head down to the kitchen for a freshly brewed pot of coffee and some toast – however, if I have abused the snooze button I skip this stage and have a quick instant coffee and croissant on the run

Into the shower

Get dressed - I don’t have a uniform but I generally have my clothes for the day ironed and prepared in advance which saves a few valuable moments

At the bus stop just in time for the 9.33 bus into town which inevitably never runs on time

Arrive at work ready for a productive day. My first hour will be spent doing everything from cleaning, checking stock levels, updating rotas and making sure all preparation has been done for the day ahead

I log onto my work computer and check over correspondence from the previous day which can include sending out menus, taking group bookings and responding to any Facebook and Twitter messages

Check the booking sheet for the day ahead, noting any special requirements, table requests, birthdays and anniversaries, then I would call our guests to confirm their reservations

Liaise with head chef - once he’s had the chance to see what fresh produce has been delivered that morning he will let me know what the specials for the day will be


Staff arrive on duty and we conduct a briefing outlining activities for the day and going over specials, changes in the menus, any specific guest requirements and dietary needs. I usually manage to get a quick coffee just before we open the doors and prepare for another great day

12.30pm until 3pm

My afternoon is spent ensuring guests enjoy the great food we serve and receive the care and attention we are fast becoming known for at The Bar + Grill

Although we serve food all day, things are sometimes quiet enough between lunch and dinner for me to catch up with friends for a late lunch or coffee or have a look around the shops

I return to work and check bookings for the evening service, see if the specials have changed and ensure the restaurant is prepared for the night


Evening staff arrive on duty and I get them to do a final check of the restaurant and do a quick briefing

Onwards Dinner service begins - we like to go that extra mile at The Bar + Grill so there is usually a special request or two for us to work on on a guest’s behalf.  As guests arrive I like to meet and greet each of them – we have lots of regulars so it’s a task to remember everyone’s names but that’s something I’m good at.

As we get lots of tourists it's important to make them feel welcome and let them experience Northern Ireland's warm, friendly hospitality and excellent service of course.

Each table is checked throughout the evening and we are very careful not to swamp our guests and be a tad too over attentive as we know this can put people off.

Although each day is different we usually finish up around 12-12.30 so whenever all bills have been settled, I make up the to do list for the next day and ensure that the restaurant is set up for the following day at the weekends this is always a later bit later but generally we are all home by 1.30. As with most people in the hospitality industry it takes a while to wind down so I would watch some tv and then get to bed for around 2am ish.

Part of the Independent News and Media group