“ With great power comes great responsibility.” Just not always the responsibility you expect. A small British island is looking for someone willing to accept responsibility for the island’s pub. Because Piel Island needs a bartender, who will also become the king of the island. Seriously.
The Barrow Borough Council oversees nearby Piel Island. It sits in Morecambe Bay of England’s north west coast. Located on the tip of the Furness Peninsula, the small isle only measures 50 acres in total. But despite its diminutive stature, the council has put out a big offer. (Which we first learned about at Food and Wine Magazine.) You can visit Piel Island via ferry from April to September. While there visitors can see the island’s castle or go on seal watches. Or they can hit up The Ship Inn, Piel Island’s pub which has been around for more than 300 years. But that tavern needs a new bartender to oversee both The Ship Inn and Piel Island itself, which means they will follow the tradition of becoming the king.
The tradition holds that each new landlord is crowned ‘King of Piel’ in a ceremony of uncertain origin, in which they sit in an ancient chair, wearing a helmet and holding a sword while alcohol is poured over their head. In early versions of the ceremony they also wore oilskins. The early written references to Knights of Piel are in the first visitors’ book which started in 1856.
We know of no other bartending jobs in the world that include becoming a King or Queen. As cool as that is though, the title also comes with real responsibilities. The council wants someone with experience you will take on a ten-year lease. And they will need to oversee the entire island year round, not just during the tourist season. The rest of the year it’s a cold, quiet place outside of “specialty weekends.”
Normally the biggest benefit of being a monarch is you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. And you can be surrounded by as many people as you like in as much comfort as you want. But with great power comes great responsibility. And running a whole island is a big responsibility.
At least the King/Queen of Piel Island can have as many pints as they like whenever they like.