Saturday, 22 June 2013

Blowing hot and cold

The British weather is notoriously fickle, and the past few weeks have been a perfect example of this, with some days getting pretty warm, while others turned out surprisingly cool, often with little advance warning. It seems to be a characteristic of pubs nowadays to over-react to changes in the weather, flinging all the doors open at the first sign of sunshine, yet turning the heating on as soon as we get a dull day.

Recently I’ve been in a couple of pubs where all the doors have been wedged open because the sun was shining, but it actually wasn’t all that warm, and on the side of the pub away from the sun there was a chilly draught. I’m sure pubs never used to do that thirty years ago, or at least not until the sun was actually cracking the flags. On the other hand, on a day which was overcast in comparison to the previous one, but still quite close and muggy, one pub had turned its heating on, making the atmosphere pretty stifling.

In one branch of Wetherspoon’s, again on an overcast but muggy day, the under-seat heating was on full blast in one corner. I went to the bar to complain and was told the system was controlled by Head Office and there was nothing the bar staff could do about it. It turned out that other areas of the pub were unaffected and I was able to move to somewhere more comfortable, but even so the entire situation seemed bonkers.

Surely it would result in a more equable climate inside, and save money on energy bills at the same time, if pubs were less eager both to open all the doors, and to turn up the thermostat.


  1. In summer, you'll find this in places that don't have a beer garden. On warm, sunny days, these pubs fear that the places with some chairs on a patio round the back is robbing all their customers so they try and make inside feel as much like the outside as possible.

    One pub I go to got its heating completely wrong. To be fair, it had only opened in November. But on the first hot day of the year, the radiator in the mens' toilet was still on in June and the cask beer was coming out of the pumps at room temperature.

  2. One trick many pubs used to do was to wedge the doors wide open at closing time to encourage the customers to leave. I always used to close the door again and if the bar staff queried it, I'd say as innocently as I could, "Someone left the door open, and you're losing all your heat!" Some would grumpily say thanks, while others explain, as if I didn't know, why they'd done it, in which case I'd reply, "Oh sorry, I didn't realise".


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