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WRITER, CONSULTANT AND BROADCASTER SPECIALISING IN BEER, PUBS AND CIDER. BEER WRITER OF THE YEAR 2009 AND 2012

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Sunday, 17 October 2010

Crap pub tells customers how much it despises their custom

I've never really enjoyed drinking in Camden, North London.  It's all just a bit too cool for school, edgy pubs with an ultra hip vibe and clientele and aloof bar staff disguising the fact that the pubs are actually a bit seedy and the beer is crap.

There are, of course, exceptions.  Read reviews of The Enterprise at Chalk Farm on sites like fancyapint, and punters love it's old school indie atmosphere, eclectic mix of regulars, music and poetry nights and decent beer selection.

However, it appears the feeling is not mutual: the Enterprise really dislikes its customers.  BLTP alerted me to the front page of their website, which is, incredibly, an extended attack on the behaviour of punters at the bar.

This pub hates you and your custom.  Go away.

I worked behind a bar for four years.  I know people can be annoying after a few drinks.  But you know what?  It comes with the territory.  If punters behave in a way that really is abusive, unpleasant or unreasonable, you absolutely have the right to eject or even bar them.  But if it's merely irritating, I'm afraid you just have to deal with it, or if interacting with people upsets you so much, get a job somewhere else.

No one likes an arse or someone who gets to the front of the queue and then spends five minutes deciding what they want.  But it seems the objectionable behaviour that so upsets the Enterprise staff includes asking for a full pint and making sure you're given the correct change.  And as for trying to start up a conversation with the bar staff - how dare you!

Here it is in full:

A MESSAGE TO OUR CUSTOMERS:-
To all of our lovely patrons, to make life easier and more fun, when at the bar please do the following:
Be rude, whistle, click your fingers and shout when you want to be served. Don’t forget how blind we are…so wave that money!
Order one drink at a time-then pay separately
Get to the bar and forget what you ordered, then proceed to ask your 10 mates what they want again. We love to stand around and wait whilst you decide…Fosters or Kronenburg?
Complain about the music being too loud…then complain about the music being to low
If we say we don’t sell something, the chances are we are lying to you! So please keep asking for what we don’t sell (Stella please!)
If we can, we will always serve you a cold beer in a warm glass
There is nothing on Earth more attractive than a drunk man…so whip out those o-so-witty chat up lines…us girls love it
The bar staff get paid far too much money, so please do not tip us it is just insulting!
You are right! The head on that pint was far too big! Let me give you an extra pint for free because of our greed
We always like taking your money, but there is nothing better for us than you leaving your money on the bar in a puddle of beer…don’t forget to point at it, just in case we can not see it floating there
If paying on a debit or credit card, when it comes to putting your pin number in, ignore us and finish that conversation with the stranger next to you…or better go for a little walk. Its fun for us to find you
I’m sorry you were correct! That was a £20 note not a £10 note!
Please tell us when we close…I’m sure you deserve that last drink after time…why do we want to go home when we can serve you until you collapse!
Thank you for coming and we cannot wait to see all of your happy faces again soon
Love
The Enterprise

Maybe it's a not serious, but an in-joke between the pub and its regulars.  Maybe I'm just not hip enough to see the warmth and deep but ironic levels of customer service and love that exude from the pub's every pore.  Maybe when you go to the bar there's lots of joshing and banter.  But I doubt it.  And if it is a joke, clearly no one's told the hipsters of the Enterprise that jokes are meant to be funny.

I'm sure staff in most pubs in the UK need to occasionally vent their frustration and I fully support their right to do so.  But to do it in public like this - this is the home page of the pub's website - is extraordinary.   BLTP summed it up perfectly when he sent the link to me: graceless.


So if you drink in Camden, please, please don't drink in the Enterprise.  They clearly don't want you there.  In these difficult times, there are many other pubs that would welcome your money.  Everyone will be happier.

26 comments:

Rabidbarfly said...

Jesus.

Northern Snippet said...

Crikey.They must be very busy to afford to put that out.

Martin said...

This is almost identical to a meme i've seen quite a few places before. Often stuck on the wall of the pub as a joke. Definitely ill-advised but it's definitely not serious.

The thought of putting it the website warrants a facepalm.

Tyson said...

A Gerald Ratner moment?

Clair said...

Haven't drunk there for years - but I always remember staff being rather po-faced and surly. Shan't be rushing back...

Tandleman said...

As Martin said it's a bit of an old saw this and of course like all such things has a hint of truth in it and it either cheers or offends depending on your predilections.

Nonetheless putting it out on your web site is almost as bad a prestige South Yorkshire pub telling you on Twitter to avoid Fridays and Saturdays, as the beer isn't as good then!

beatsonhouse said...

surely this is the work of a disgruntled staff member with access to the web site?

BLTP said...

One thing that's been missed here is this is a music venue which charges for gigs. So like many of uk venues once you've paid your money (and you can't leave) they feel able to treat you like sh*te.

I'm sure the staff grow to loathe us punters but this is a rare occasion when they public display their contempt. oh and before anyone starts I can take more jokes than most people, this just seemed just a little too bitter to make it fun.

It's getting to point now were I avoid certain venues because they are so grim, even when there's acts I dearly want to see. If more music fans did this things might actually change but that's not going to happen I know. Also if possible I try to drink elsewhere before& after the gig to avoid drinking more than the one pint of weak carling from a plastic skiff.
Music venues could learn from festivals like lattiude etc that people will pay a premium for good food and good beer and that it's part of what makes for a good time.

The modern rock gig with it's tactless pointless body searches, overpriced poorly served sh*t food and drink, vile toilets, poor leg room, and surely abusive unhelpful staff is increasingly a less appealing proposition .

Sid Boggle said...

Wot Martin and Tandie said - The Black Jug in Horsham has a board above the end of the bar with a more or less identical list on it.

Might just be a gag, but stupid to put it out front on their website though.

Ed said...

The should go the whole hog and only serve punk IPA so the punters can be told they lack taste and sophistication and should leave.

Eddie86 said...

Ed might have hit on something - perhaps they're 'doing a brewdog'. Trying to be controversial in order to gain coverage (as this blog has done)?

Professor Pie-Tin said...

Wankers.
But let's be honest most pubs in Britain appear to be run by people who hate people.
In that respect we have much to learn from our American cousins.

Jeff Pickthall said...

I know I'd have limited tolerance for the kind of people who prop up Camden bars but this pub's arrogance is astonishing. The message I get from it is that it thinks it exists for the staff's amusement rather than providing drinks and conviviality for paying customers.

In my experience, if a customer is repeatedly committing any of the offences described, a quiet and calm word from the boss will alert them their behaviour isn't appreciated. Frequently the customer is aghast and embarrassed that their behaviour has caused annoyance and the next round includes a drink for the person serving them.

Sadly from behind the bar it's all too easy to label a customer as a twat and consequently give them twattish service – and that's the wrong way to run a pub.

The Pub Diaries said...

And I always thought the bar maids liked my impression of an elephant drinking a pint! How wrong I was

Roland said...

It's right opposite the Roundhouse, have been in a few times before and after gigs. Always busy.

If you want table service, a kebab & chips, can of cooking lager, smoking area and live music - go to Marathon Kebabs up the road instead. Open late.

Richard said...

The Canny Man here in Edinburgh has a custom-made brass plaque outside the door stating 'no phones, no cameras, no trainers, no backpackers'. I guess that's Morningside for you, but even so...

Publican Sam said...

I too have seen this before, much amusement when shown to customers and staff alike, plenty of additions made to the list ... but it is a joke after all.

I don't know the premises, but should imagine that they have put it up for a laff... certainly from the rest of their website this is the tenor of the pub.

Most reviews I can see are favourable ... perhaps you should do what I have done and emailed them to tell them their front page is causing offence and resulting in negative feedback for them

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

Seems to me its a joke, it certainly made me smile.

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

Seems to me its a joke, it certainly made me smile.

Anonymous said...

I think it was very informative and I will try to be a better customer, I must have done a few of these points in my time.
This pub used to be an old man's pub once and they knew the rules.
Younger people are used to clubs where anything goes and the enterprise has that sort of clientele: so there for the list-or you might think barmaids just there to be mistreated.

Liam said...

Don't agree that they're "doing a Brewdog". While those of a sensitive nature might be offended by their labels, in the process of slagging you off it also tries to make you feel unique that you are shunning the mainstream cooking lagers. It attempts to instill a sense that you are doing things differently, that you are going against the grain and aren't you cool for doing so.

This just shows a lack of grace and respect for customers, whether or not it was meant as a joke. I too have worked in a few bars in my time and know how annoying some people can be and that it is a largely thankless task, especially in busy city-centre pubs. The problem is as already mentioned that there are lots of people with no inclination to be hospitable in the hospitality business.

rabbi lionheart said...

Having worked in food/customer service for years, and being a bit of a grumpy bastard myself, I can't help but feel exactly as the employees of this place do. Seriously, unless you're shitface drunk, there are basic rules that people should follow (like not talking on the phone while trying to order) that would make everyone's lives easier.

With that said, these people may be going a bit far. It would be nice if everyone could be understanding and accepting that people may be too buzzed to order properly (or too tired to order coffee properly, in my case). But what really amazes me is the overwhelming responses of the other readers here. You expect your bartender to be happy and cheery all the time? You're too old to get a damn inside joke? Well, it was "inside", so maybe you're out. Seriously, don't expect the world from your servers; they hate their lives just as much as you do, so maybe you should stop taking it out on them and maybe they will stop taking it out on you.

Zebra Removals said...

I like it.

Sounds to me like all the things the staff sit round and discuss when the pub is shut have been put to good use.

The biggest gripe in catering is " customers " followed by "wages "

Looks to me like someone has realised that a bit of reverse pyschology on the website would work wonders.


How many people reading the site would have worked behind a bar themselves at some point in their lives and thought " I had the same moans when I worked in a pub, what a ballsy place, I'll check it out "

I'd bet it pulls in punters.

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Anonymous said...

Hey great post. Thought I'm not sure I agree with you 100%. Keep em coming. Are you interested in having anyone guest post opposing views?

Anonymous said...

Hey, funny post. I fully agree with all their statements, having done bar work for a few years, so found it quite witty.......but I would not post it on a public forum

Anonymous said...

Hey, funny post. I fully agree with all their statements, having done bar work for a few years, so found it quite witty.......but I would not post it on a public forum