When it comes to living in Portugal many people come especially to the Algarve with the intentions of either working in or opening a bar and while this may seem like a very positive step there are a number of issues that you need to fist consider before investing your time and money into a project like this.
I have spoken to scores of people who talk about living in Portugal and running their own bar. These people have usually been coming on holiday to Portugal for many years and have seen many other expats running bars where they have been staying.
It is true that of all the businesses that expats are involved with running a bar is one of the most popular but what many people do not consider are the very long hours, legal paperwork involved, extra costs and the reality that unless you have an exceptionally popular bar that you will not be making lots of money.
You do not need to do any courses or have any qualifications to open a bar in Portugal, unlike the UK where to be a pub landlord you need at the very least to have a clean police record to run a bar. While this may seem to be great it actually means that many people end up opening a bar without even knowing the basics from changing barrels to food preparation and hygiene practices and the vast majority have no idea about the masses of paper work and licences that you need to be able to operate.
Almost everything in a bar needs a different licence from the chairs on your terrace, to the signs you put outside to the televisions that you have to the music that you play whether it is on a CD player, on the radio or is live - everything needs a different piece of paper and this not only is very tome consuming it also can be costly.
Many of the bars in Portugal stay open very late so you need to factor in that shifts need to cover often from 10 in the morning until at least 2am and realistically a couple are unable to work all of these hours seven days a week, 365 days of the year.
Running a bar in Portugal can be a very positive experience but you need to go into this industry with your eyes wide open and knowing that real trade only actually comes in a tourist area for about 10 weeks while the rest of the year can be difficult.
If you are considering opening a bar in Portugal then I would suggest that you have a talk with bothers who have had the same experience and see what they suggest, it is also essential for you to get a good accountant and perhaps even a lawyer to help you navigate through the mountain of paperwork and legislation involved to make sure you are on the right side of the law and don’t incur any unnecessary fines.