A Small Man Walks Into A Pub

Based on an instant reaction to this post by Sophie Atherton

This piece is not intended as an antagonistic response, merely me putting over another (not, THE other) side, this time of a man getting served at a bar.

I don’t know if anything can be read into Sophie’s (too familiar? Sorry) story, that this incident was this time caused by a female bartender (nah, doesn’t work), it would be interesting to note the age of said employee.

But then again, from my point of view neither the age nor the gender of the bar staff really tallies with what kind of service you get.

I don’t frequent clubs at all anymore, having loathed anytime spent in them in my youth,  but in each case any chap behind the bar would always serve the prettiest girls first before attending to either the men or the women he didn’t deem to be as attractive.  Female staff were always much more productive.

Pubs on the other hand, I find, can be very varied.

I can understand staff serving “regulars” before me, I don’t like it but it is unwritten pub etiquette, whether it is something anyone waiting an inordinate amount of time should tolerate is another matter.

It is worse for me that in some cases as I would deem myself a semi-regular – the staff in the pubs I go in probably don’t know my by name but they should certainly know me by sight.

In pubs that is always the loathsome aspect of waiting to get served sometimes, not only “beaten” by the regulars who appear like Mr. Benn’s shopkeeper at the side of the bar, but also when you’re at a bar and the staff start talking over you to a mate of theirs three persons behind you.

In either case it has generally been bloke bar staff that do this.

And with Christmas coming up it will only get more ridiculous.

I’m pretty sure I read blog pieces about “a bar staff’s prerogative” last Xmas – it is what happens when you give an individual just a little bit of power over another.

Having spent the weekend serving at the 1st Independent Salford Beer Festival (review to follow), I’d like to think I was all equal opportunity; indeed the epitome of a 1st come, 1st served attitude, it isn’t difficult in the slightest.

You’d even think that regulars wouldn’t mind waiting – a stranger at the bar, go ahead, it brings in possible repeat business if they are served quickly and will keep the coffers of the pub topped up for just that little bit longer.

I don’t doubt that women may find it more difficult to get served before men, though I’ve been served, after quite a long while of waiting, by some gruff old bloke seemingly reluctant for my custom and by women (of various ages) more intent on gossiping than bringing in cash for the business they work for.

I can only expand on Mrs. Atherton’s (too formal? Sorry) final sentence; pubs are indeed still closing at a rate, but regardless, given any other option, people will go elsewhere if they have to wait because of ignorant, poorly trained bar staff – of any gender.


4 thoughts on “A Small Man Walks Into A Pub

  1. Thanks for reading my post and finding it worth responding to. You make some good points about service in pubs – although I don’t agree it’s an unwritten rule that regulars should be served first. I think that is a crime against customer service too. As per your query, the female bartender I wrote of was mid 30s/early 40s I’d say – but I am rubbish at judging ages!

    • Thanks for the comment, noted on your title.
      With regards unwritten rules, I agree it is just general poor customer service, but its only a minor quibble that I can tolerate if the rest of the service is quick and friendly. Acting like you’re invisible should usually be met with ones feet being warmed in another tavern of better repute.

  2. One example of this I encountered was in a well-known McrNQ bar a year or so ago. Okay, it was a Friday night, towards last orders, so I was expecting a bit of a rush. But the one bloke (middle aged) behind the bar didn’t seem to have a clue who’d turned up when and seemed to be serving people (male and female alike) at random, whilst trying to wash glasses and stack bottles at the same time.

    I stood there for a good ten minutes, as people to the left and right of me were served (for the record, I’m 6’2″ so not exactly invisible). Then another punter arrived at the bar to my immediate left. The barman looked up, pointed at him and said “you’ve been here a while, what can I get you?”. At which point I turned around and walked out.

    It took me a good six or so months to want to go back there again, the experience created such a negative association.

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