Sunday, 24 July 2016

In the thick of it

One of the good features of Wetherspoon’s pubs is that, as far as I’m aware, they don’t provide bar stools. However, this doesn’t deter dickheads people from standing at the bar and, in some cases, they do it with remarkable determination.

At last week’s CAMRA Revitalisation meeting, there was one oldish pony-tailed guy who insisted on clinging to his spot at the bar despite the three-deep throng of beards surrounding him desperate to be served. You really do have to wonder what possesses people to think that is a good idea.

This seems to be a common feature of Spoons, and not just the Gateway. Very often, they’re on their own, so it can’t be argued they’re doing it to be sociable, unless the objective is to buttonhole other customers and bore them to death.

And they always seem to choose to stand right in front of the bank of handpumps, making it difficult to see what’s available. Any licensee worth his salt would surely say to them “if you must stand at the bar, pal, please move down a bit to give the other customers a decent view”.

18 comments:

  1. I think this is your most prescient post to date as I was just mulling over the very same problem. It does seem like a very particular Spoonsesque problem and one that really annoys me. Middle aged blokes, who should know better, seem to be the worst offenders. And, as you say, they seem determined to block your access to the handpumps; which of course they won't be using.

    When did this become acceptable bar etiquette? I don't know, but I always assumed that the reason Spoons don't have bar stools is exactly because they don't want people blocking the bar. And yet I've seen people actually drag high stools to sit at the bar and, yes, block the handpumps!

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  2. In the Gateway, where the posing tables are close to the bar, I've sometimes seen the stool-sitters and bar-standers merge into one group. If people prefer to stand, far enough, but blocking others' access is rank bad manners.

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  3. I find it's a more general problem, not one confined to Wetherspoons.

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    1. Bar-hogging is, but Spoons are unusual in typically having very long bars and no barstools.

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  4. Both of my regular haunts have a tradition of standing at the bar - it's the done thing - but we're usually courteous enough to let people in. Unless they just shove, that is.

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  5. Surprising how cross they get when you spill beer on them fighting your way through the crowd :-)

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  6. People standing in the way at the bar are a damn nuisance. I find Weatherspoons to be a particular problem. Another pet hate of mine is all the twats using contactless cards instead of cash.

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    1. What is your problem with contactless cards? Is it just in 'spoons, pubs in general, or life in general?

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    2. A pet hate of mine is all the twats who spell it 'Weatherspoons'.

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    3. Funny I now hate all the twats who insist on paying in cash instead of the much faster contactless.

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  7. This is an absolutely fundamental problem in Central London, particularly during the 5-8PM 'post office' slot. Big groups of people - most of them drinking wine, mainstream lager or bottles - standing by the bar and blocking both the pumps and the thoroughfare. Their defining characteristic is a complete oblivion to the fact that proper, serious drinkers might want to have a look and see what beers are on.

    What I don't get is how these groups ever end up in real ale pubs when they'd be just as well served elsewhere, mixing with their own kind!

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  8. I hope there are some of the perpetrators reading - you know who you are.

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  9. From the other side of the bar (serving at beer festivals or bars) it is an irritant too.

    Having to shout over to people if they are being served, having to listen twice as hard for the order, leaning over to exchange monies, trying to find a place on the bar to put the newly bought beverages.

    etc...

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  10. I shared the pain last week Mudge, it was irritating. Sitting or standing at the bar seems to be a highly variable pub feature; didn't see much of it in the Marches this week thankfully, but then they have proper seating there !

    Another feature of the Gateway last week was the queue we formed. I've seen some snide comments about the pub queue, a device invented to ensure that people get served order, on the basis that Spoons staff seem to have no ide who's next.

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    1. I've only ever seen queues in Spoons, presumably as you say, because the staff have no idea what's going on. Personally I prefer to drink at the bar although I will always get out of the way if it's crowded and people want to be served. However, if no bar stools are provided, I'll go and sit somewhere else rather than just stand there and get in the way.

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  11. The queues in Wetherspoons are because they never have enough staff. In my experience most are pretty competent but it must be tricky to remember who's next when you have so many in the queue.
    Worse, in my view, is that they only seem to clear tables at set times, not as they go. Hence free tables can be filthy or covered in empty glasses and plates, which can make it difficult to find somewhere to sit even if it's not busy.

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    1. That's a good analysis Malcolm. I've good experience with Spoons staff, but the friction you get when an old bloke wanting a Carling top-up cuts in front of a Mum ordering children's meals is getting a bit boring. I sympathise with staff who seem to be working up and down a long bar, trying to remember who was at the bar is probably no fun. Spot on about cleaning of tables.

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  12. One of the worst features I find when entering a pub is to see a sea of backs in front of the bar when the the pub is otherwise empty. What's wrong with sitting at a table, so that others can get to the bar and order a drink?

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