An artisanally crafted blog curated by Cooking Lager for discerning readers of beer bloggery

Monday, 25 April 2011

Pub etiquette

Today’s post has been inspired by top beer blogger Mudge. In attempting to improve the shoddy behaviour of pub goers, and in particular CAMRA members, he has in my opinion been unfairly criticised.

I think much of the disagreement comes out of looking at only one of the many disgraceful actions of the pub going of his beer club by it’s members, rather than provide a guide to pub etiquette for regular drinkers.

So may I attempt to define one? After all, one is clearly required. You can only combat ignorance with education.

The pub goer ought not to expect standards of service common in other retail outlets or even common across the bars of Europe. The UK pub is an environment all it’s own and those foolhardy enough to venture into them ought not to think that experience of other customer outlets is at all relevant. Nope, this represents ignorance of the highest order. A degree of ignorance on a par with drinking anything that is a popular national brand and is available “on keg”

Upon venturing into a pub one ought first to expect to pay top dollar for mediocrity. Any other expectation is plain ignorance. Take out a second mortgage for you will be paying prices 6 times that of a cheap can of supermarket lager for the privilege of drinking it out of a glass. Expect the glass to be scratched and displaying the faded name of a beer quite different to that in the glass, the one you have asked for. Do not expect the standard of cleanliness you might expect at home. The table will be sticky with the dried beer stains of previous customers; the seats stained with peculiar unidentifiable marks and the toilets are best left not ventured into.

I say this because pub toilets are best left, full stop. Better to hold it than ever contemplating stepping foot in one. To do so might involve the type of shock that will require therapy, at great expense and many years.

You cannot expect to sit down and be served a drink, expect to go to the bar. Do not expect a smile, expect a surly weary resignation by the person who is about to pour you a drink and charge you an arm and a leg for the privilege. You have received a great compliment by being served at all, the bar staff are within their right to ignore you completely whilst they piss about with the till for half an hour. You have to remember that as a customer you are an impediment to the smooth running of their pub and be grateful for what you receive. Expect any number of fonts to be “off”, and the choice to be far smaller than it initially appears. Never expect ice in any drink. Expect no clear indication of the sum of monies you will be asked to hand over prior to asking for your pint. This great mystery is part of the tradition and character of the great British pub and to question it is too show your great ignorance. Only expect that when you eventually discover the price, it is likely to be eye watering.

This great institution must be supported, and it is your great privilege to pay top dollar for what elsewhere might be considered overpriced mediocrity. By doing so you are displaying your great enlightened wisdom. After drinking your drink, take your empty glass to the bar. If you have an empty plate take that too alongside any empty crisp and peanut bags. At the bar ask for a dishcloth and bottle of cif cleaner and proceed to clean the pub. Also ask whether they want the toilet cleaned too. Do not think for one minute that the pub employs people to do that, and it is their job of work. Do not show your outstanding ignorance; accept the great privilege of them allowing you in to spend your money in their boozer. The people employed to pour drinks, take orders, clear and clean tables are best at laconically pissing about with the till, or reading a newspaper behind the bar and ignoring any punter that walks in.

So don’t be ignorant. Once you’ve paid an arm and a leg for an overpriced beer and fetched it yourself from the bar, be prepared to take the empty glass back to the bar. If you don’t offer to do the washing up to boot, you are frankly pig ignorant. Also stick a mop up your arse so you might clean the floor on your way out.

And don’t for one minute think it’s easier to just pop into Tesco’s for a slab of lovely cheap grog as that’s ignorant too. Remember these important rules and one-day you too can find yourself drinking in one of Britain’s great pubs and doing your bit to save them from extinction.

Well said, Mudge!


Dick Puddlecote said...

Ooh, you mischievous scamp. ;)

Curmudgeon said...

Well, I certainly rattled a few cages there ;-)

Cooking Lager said...

I agree with ya Mudge! We have to stand firm against this pernicious foreign influenced view of “service culture”. We should always feel uncomfortable with receiving service as somehow related to an historical indignity of a historical class system. The fact that in the rest of the world good service is a respectable dignified form of work should not influence us. The fact that people don’t feel uncomfortable receiving service nor think the paid employee is demeaning herself offering it is bunk. We should live with and accept piss poor standards of customer service and do the jobs others are paid to do ourselves when paying a premium for a service we do not expect to receive. I hope you wiped the table after doing the pot collection.

Curmudgeon said...

I take it you never say thank you to the bus driver, then, Cookie...

Cooking Lager said...

A poor counter argument, Mudge. I would thank a bus driver as I would thank a barmaid, pot collector or waitress. In the case of the waitress I would tip, as that is the norm. There is dignity in their work and politeness would recognise that. I wouldn’t drive the bus, offer to stand next to him and work the gears in the same way as pot collecting in a pub isn’t my job. I pay a premium for a service I expect to receive. I am happy and comfortable to be served and indeed waited on. The customer service person deserves dignity in their work, but that doesn’t involve me doing their job for them. Had you commented that your bearded drinking buddies failed to say thank you or behave politely you would find me in agreement with you. They are not rude because they are comfortable with service. A poor part of my argument is to suggest those uncomfortable with service do so out of a misplaced form of class related guilt. I really don’t know whether that is true, it was an assumption on my part.

Colin said...

Nice posts ya boring twats.

Tandleman said...

Good stuff Cookie. As I keep saying "it's the offer stupid".

RedNev said...

CL: I thought you lived in England.