Local CAMRA member, John Stocks, has had a conversation with Josh Barnsley, Manager of his local, the Cross Scythes (145-147 Derbyshire Lane, S8 9EQ). Josh, with the assistance of his partner, Kat, took over the running of the pub about six months ago, on 1st November 2022.
What inspired you both to take on the challenge?
I had been working for the Devonshire Group for a number of years out on the Chatsworth Estate, in my final years with the Group managing the Devonshire Arms at Pilsley. I thought that it was time to move back to Sheffield. Catherine actually has a full-time job and I would say she was more reluctant to the challenge knowing how much time that this industry and especially running a pub takes but I am very grateful for the hours and time she somehow manages to fit in with running the Cross Scythes.
Did you always envisage working in the industry?
Not really, originally leaving school I worked for Sheffield Wednesday Community Programme and after four years, I moved on and got my first job as a bar manager at the New Inn on Hemsworth Road.
Have you received training in working in the hospitality industry?
Yes absolutely. I’ve now been in this industry for around 13 years and over time, I’ve taken on various courses such as BIIB cellar management, bookkeeping etc and more recently a Management course with Derby University.
Do you plan specific short-term and long-term goals for the pub or do you prefer to respond to needs as they arise?
I have been coming to the Cross since I was 18. The immediate response to walking through the doors was subtle changes. For example, changing the decor where budget allowed and making sure that there is atmosphere whether that’s dimming the lights at night or background music. In answer to the question, short term goals are making sure that the Cross stays open, long term who knows.
Do you see yourselves remaining at the Scythes long term, or will you be looking for a different challenge?
It’s not so much about remaining at the Cross. I’m a happy custodian that hopes we have made an impact on our local community, but the reality is that somebody could take the lease at any time. All we can do is try and ensure that we leave a legacy here that means that anyone incoming can continue to give our locals a space to be proud of.
What has been the most rewarding, and most challenging aspect of the job so far?
The comments that we receive daily about the changes we have made, the pop up shop being able to support local makers has been the most rewarding.
If you could change one aspect of the job what would it be?
The hours, but when I ever have anyone ask me that question, an old boss of mines voice appears in my head telling me I’m in the wrong job!
The job must be exhausting and stressful at times, how do you relax ?
It is for sure. Well we are very lucky to have the Peak District on our door-step. I normally head out off there.
What advice would you give to anyone new to the role?
If the opportunity comes along to learn more, then do it. See it as a career and not a job. Bar staff are the best listeners in the world, and you can learn so much about life by engaging with so many interesting people.