Now, we're pretty easy-going chaps. Not the kind of blokes
to kick up a fuss. We accept that nothing's perfect and into every life
some rain must fall. We're happy to give a fair tip for good service,
an extra-comfortable stay or an excellent meal. But there are two things
that make us steam.
First, The Sunday
We've lost count of the number of times we've had a great weekend then
we roll up to a pub at lunchtime on Sunday to find they won't serve us
a sandwich. Not because they're rushed off their feet serving roast beef
and Yorkshire pudding (that would be understandable); not because we have
our walking boots on (it's never been a problem on Saturdays). No, it's
a maddening kind of attitude that says we only serve the full works on
Sundays so you can't have a beef sandwich.
We've been to places where the beef is staring us in the face and the
retaurant is half empty. We'd be happy to nibble a sandwich in the bar
and pay a fair price, but no, they refuse us. Maddening. Landlords, stop
it! Next time it happens to us we will name and shame you here!
Secondly, The Gastro
Pub Effect. We congratulate landlords who look after their pubs
and their beer. We recognise that some will want to bring in more custom
and make a well deserved profit by offering good meals and the eating
out experience. But, landlords, please don't lose sight of your fundamental
purpose. You are here to sell beer in a pub not gentrify the place with
fancy wall hangings and make it into a restaurant.
There is a place for both pub and restaurant. There is a place for the
pub / restaurant too. But please please don't destroy both in
a cock-eyed attempt to go up market. There should always be a bar serving
a good range of beer and wine for drinkers and a place by the bar for
eating. The restaurant should be separate from the bar while the bar can
serve a range of simple meals or a cut down version of the restaurant
Everywhere we go we see good pubs losing local customers in favour of
becoming "gastro-pubs". Give us an honest pub with well-kept
beer and a simple menu of beef or ham sandwiches and steak and kidney
pie with chips. What more could a man want?
In our view the classic
pub would be The
Queen's Head at Newton, Cambridgeshire, The
Blue Ball at Grantchester, Cambridgeshire or The
Red Cow at Chrishall.
The Sad Loss To Gastro Award would go to The George at Cavendish, Suffolk
and The Crown at Wells next the Sea, both of which "elevated"
themselves out of the Good Pub category and therefore out of our range.
But of course some might argue with that .... Have