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British Pubs - why so important?

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British Pubs - why so important?

Old 3rd May 2021, 14:26
  #61 (permalink)  
 
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ATNotts
The nearest pub to us is open with some external benches close to a cricket pitch out in the country. They are doing the table, service but have now started asking for money up front as some patrons have left without paying their respective bills according to my wife. I have to say here in Germany I get my Beer mat marked and pay at the end for my drinks. It always surprises me that it does not get abused, but the family owners say it is very rare, and usually associated with international football, when people come from out of town, and sadly from an island of the western coast of Europe, wonder where that could be .
Also further afield the Mandarin Oriental chain do a buffet on a Sunday in the Far East, that for example in KL works out about 20, onto which for an extra 20 you can add as much as alcohol as you want from a list of 4 wines (Australian ) and local beer and limited spirits, can you imagine that in say Hartlepool ?
Hotels are expensive in the UK, indeed I would say some of the most expensive in the world with some pretty average service. However they at least have improved from the early 80’s when I first started staying away for work, before going overseas for some years.
Cheers
Mr Mac

Last edited by Mr Mac; 4th May 2021 at 17:19.
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Old 3rd May 2021, 15:31
  #62 (permalink)  
 
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The Continental system of paying for drinks/meals wouldn't work here in the UK; that's for sure. It seems that honesty is no longer part of an upbringing for certain strains of our population...
I spent a bit of time in Munchen in the late '70s and it was a surprise to see the the street newspapers honesty box system, the previously-mentioned marked beer mats and the English Garden park with its large outdoor chess area and the pieces kept under the viewing benches. I'd give them less than a week in Britain before they were vandalised, set on fire or stolen. What the hell happened to our society? I don't remember that sort of thing being common here when I was growing up. Obviously it was never a Darling Buds of May existence at any time here but it's certainly a more decayed culture, especially when alcohol-fuelled. A read through a typical daily newspaper is enough evidence of that.
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Old 3rd May 2021, 16:23
  #63 (permalink)  
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I recall arriving for a pint and some dinner at a pub a couple of decades back with a mate. We were doing all the Harveys pubs, mostly by train/bus but this was one that needed a car so he drove and I bought the drinks. "Will ye be eating?" enquired mein host. Indeed we will and he declined my cash and opened a tab. We ate, I had another pint, we used the facilities and left... It was at the car one of us said "did we pay?". Whoops! I walked back in to find the landlord coming out with his shot gun. No, I made that bit up... Profuse apologies but at that time I rarely if ever opted for a tab when in a pub, much preferring to pay at the bar. Nowadays if I go for a pub meal, it's more relaxed and with more drinks (and cheese and biscuits!) so a tab and settle at the end is fine.

I recall a friend's retirement do at a big pub near Victoria - he had a tab running which he paid at the end of the afternoon session for the early birds and us long stay pissheads, then opened a new one for the evening rush of old colleagues. When eventually it came time to pay there were a hell of a lot of shots on the bill which were nothing to do with us - pints, wine, the odd whiskey, yes but no shots. Big row with the landlord who was adamant it wasn't padded - we believed him but somebody behind the bar had been serving drinks to some youngsters further down the bar - I remember them - and adding them to Bob's tab. I think they split the difference eventually.
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Old 3rd May 2021, 21:47
  #64 (permalink)  
 
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The Continental system of paying for drinks/meals wouldn't work here in the UK; that's for sure. It seems that honesty is no longer part of an upbringing for certain strains of our population...
I spent a bit of time in Munchen in the late '70s and it was a surprise to see the the street newspapers honesty box system, the previously-mentioned marked beer mats and the English Garden park with its large outdoor chess area and the pieces kept under the viewing benches. I'd give them less than a week in Britain before they were vandalised, set on fire or stolen. What the hell happened to our society? I don't remember that sort of thing being common here when I was growing up. Obviously it was never a Darling Buds of May existence at any time here but it's certainly a more decayed culture, especially when alcohol-fuelled. A read through a typical daily newspaper is enough evidence of that.
It's all down to culture, the UK's 'then' culture dissipated in the mists of the 70's as the wartime generation handed the social baton onto the next generation, and of course other inputs that changed society's behaviour. The trust system just wouldn't work anymore, or for that matter since many years, especially in alcoholically fuelled situations! I think that in many European countries the old ways are still intact, the values handed down by parent to child are still in place and valued on a national level. Self-integrity seems to ba at the forefront, they just wouldn't consider ripping others off by not paying for food and drink in a hostelry. (There are people that WILL do that, but they tend to be criminals) I love that easy-going trust system and it makes going out a pleasure.
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Old 3rd May 2021, 22:11
  #65 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by stevef View Post
The Continental system of paying for drinks/meals wouldn't work here in the UK; that's for sure. It seems that honesty is no longer part of an upbringing for certain strains of our population...
I spent a bit of time in Munchen in the late '70s and it was a surprise to see the the street newspapers honesty box system, the previously-mentioned marked beer mats and the English Garden park with its large outdoor chess area and the pieces kept under the viewing benches. I'd give them less than a week in Britain before they were vandalised, set on fire or stolen. What the hell happened to our society? I don't remember that sort of thing being common here when I was growing up. Obviously it was never a Darling Buds of May existence at any time here but it's certainly a more decayed culture, especially when alcohol-fuelled. A read through a typical daily newspaper is enough evidence of that.
Again, it depends where you live. The trust system is alive and well in all the local pubs here. It's a rural setting between several large towns, but it still works.
Many a time I have left without paying only to remember the following day (on one occasion a week later). No harm done.
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Old 3rd May 2021, 23:02
  #66 (permalink)  
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When wondering what to do with myself in Texas, I was thinking over a plan of a nice restaurant where all the booking and menus etc., were done on line. Computing was still fairly new and it was going to take some promoting.

The thing I hate most about eating out is the fiasco of paying. Flippin' 'ek, I've just had a nice meal, why would I want it f ruined by fluffing about with paying? Just get up, thank the staff, and get in your car - which is outside the front door perhaps. Any issues are discussed in the future.

Pay upon ordering at first, and later, when a relationship is built up, pay on-line later. NO @$^@$# TIPPING.

The idea was to start a craze for this kind of place and then sell the franchise which was to be based in part on a very high standard of hygiene.
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Old 3rd May 2021, 23:24
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First time I went to the UK as an adult (late 1980's), it was actually recommended to me to eat dinner at a local pub. Pub food was generally considered to better than the standard restaurants - and you could have a pint or two of pretty good beer with your dinner. Some of the pubs were quite unique, and the food was generally pretty good (although I did get a couple sub-par meals). Back then, a pint usually about a pound . I still recall one place that had a special beer called "Hell's Highway" - as a salute to the men who fought in Operation Market Garden.

My most recent trip to the UK - about ten years ago - in and around London the pubs were sadly uniform (several I stopped at had the same exact food menu and beer selection - I presume all belonged to the same chain). Food was OK but not what I'd remembered, and the selection of beer limited.
So sad...
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Old 3rd May 2021, 23:38
  #68 (permalink)  
 
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NO @$^@$# TIPPING.
When we first came to New Zealand, some 25 years ago, it was strictly No Tipping everywhere, my American wife couldn't believe it, but soon gratefully caught on ! Then we held the America's Cup sailing thing, and had lots of Americans visit the Country, who automatically tipped everything and everybody. Thanks. Till receipts now add a "Tip" column, but I have no qualms about ignoring it, tho' occasionally, if we've had some particularly extra personal attention, I may oblige.

A million years ago in New York, one of our airline stewards took a taxi, ( rich barsteward ! ) and the final fare was 90c. ( when the flag fall was 25C ) He gave the driver a dollar bill and told him to keep the change. As he walked away the driver threw 10c out of the window and said - "Keep it, cheap ass, you obviously need it more then me ".
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Old 4th May 2021, 00:54
  #69 (permalink)  
 
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tdracer,

"...In and around London the pubs were sadly uniform...."


What?

London pubs uniform? You must have been dreadfully unlucky with your choice. London has the most wonderful diverse selection of pubs imaginable, and there are THOUSANDS of 'em!

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Old 4th May 2021, 01:35
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Originally Posted by pr00ne View Post
What?

London pubs uniform? You must have been dreadfully unlucky with your choice. London has the most wonderful diverse selection of pubs imaginable, and there are THOUSANDS of 'em!
Perhaps, but more than once I sat down in a pub and asked for a menu - and got the same menu that I'd been presented day or two previously in a pub many blocks away. Not just the same items on the menu, the same menu - same items, same prices, same layout on the page - the same menu, just a different pub name at the top.
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Old 4th May 2021, 05:52
  #71 (permalink)  
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Tdracer, definitely plenty of "pubco" pubs around London that will do exactly that, Wetherspoons, Vintage Inns, etc, etc, plus Youngs, Fullers and Greene King pubs tend to be rather samey though I don't know if menus are identical.

Also the trendy "Craft" pubs all seem rather similar, with a row of spouts for the beer (lager?) embedded in the wall behind the bar and menus offering apparently identical food - why do burgers always have to come in a glazed bun now (in almost every pub), can't stand them...

Definitely still some gems around in London though - eg The Southampton Arms whose lunchtime pork baps (get there early though) and range of ales and ciders are superb...
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Old 4th May 2021, 07:48
  #72 (permalink)  
 
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It looks as though low pay and unsociable hours are coming home to roost in the hospitality industry:-

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56919575

As someone who has a soon to be relative working in the pub industry who is expected to worked long hours for little more than the minimum wage, it is hardly surprising to me that bar and restaurant staff furloughed on and off over the last 12 months have discovered it's perfectly easy to get minimum wage sector jobs with the major supermarket chains, driving delivery vans with online grocery orders which don't have you working stupid hours, dealing with drunks at weddings and clearing up puke after boozers have overindulged.

Perhaps, if something good comes out of the pandemic it might be some recognition in the UK that hospitality is a profession, not "a job" with the associated training and improved pay and conditions that go with it. This is normal in many European countries, but, certainly judging from the service you often get in UK pubs and restaurants, especially "PubCo" ones doesn't happen here.
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Old 4th May 2021, 11:45
  #73 (permalink)  
 
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Perhaps, if something good comes out of the pandemic it might be some recognition in the UK that hospitality is a profession, not "a job" with the associated training and improved pay and conditions that go with it. This is normal in many European countries, but, certainly judging from the service you often get in UK pubs and restaurants, especially "PubCo" ones doesn't happen here.
That's a definite thing in the UK compared to say, Europe where it is a studied and respected career and appreciated. I have found, that despite my personal rule if treating bar, waiting staff with courtesy and respect, I have often experiences attitudes ranging from disinterest (You're pretending to pay me, stherefore I'll pretend to work), through to the "I'm too good for this job and I'm doing you a favour". I've even had a good few over the years pointedly tell me their story (in short form) and make it clear that serving is beneath them, but this will have to do for the moment, when all I wanted was to order and receive my food and drink. In this way, the European staff are head and shoulders above and it really shows in the UK in the last 15 years as so many came to live and work here. After the last year or more of lockdowns and interrupted life, I think that a lot have returned to their own countries. Brexit also played a part ,no doubt.
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Old 4th May 2021, 16:47
  #74 (permalink)  
 
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Shortage of staff will undoubtedly lead to higher wages, which leads to higher prices and loss of custom.

A vicious circle.
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Old 5th May 2021, 11:41
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Higher wages can just lead to reduced profit margins.....depends on the greed really....

In Mid Early 1980s I first visited the UK, and a relative with whom I stayed lived in Tunbridge Wells & took me to the 'Brown Trout' for my first meal on UK soil....a 'Ploughmans' lunch ....and a delightful thing it was too! Lovely part of the Country, lovely Beer Garden etc etc.

Today, I had some bread & cheese, no Pork Pie, they are rarely seen here...Branston pickle, some simple salad & Ham, and a Large bottle of Pale Ale.

Whilst perusing the opinion pages of the local papers online, enjoying my 'Ploughmans' & Beer, it occurred to me to look up pubs I remember visiting (even working for!) in the way distant past.....

Not a single 'Ploughmans' to be found on a menu....they may exist, but not in places I remember visiting....Cajun chicken wings...in a pub in Hertfordshire???....Everything is burgers/ wraps etc.....no seemingly traditional pub fare. Hell I can go to my local pub here in South East Queensland, and whilst not decorated in a classical English pub sense, I can still get 'Bangers & Mash with veggies" for $10 (5 quid).....

As for 50 pound Sunday Roast Mr Kerridge can get his hand off of it!



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Old 5th May 2021, 11:56
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Traditional pub "fair" used to be cooked on the premises, but now get delivered in a van painted up "3663" or "Brake Bros" or some other mass catering business and trained "chef" has to chuck it in the microwave and fry a few chips to go on the side. The publicans have by and large no say in what goes on their menus, they are pre-printed and despatched to every outlet (I hesitate to call them pubs, or restaurants) and the wherewithal to put food delivered in by catering truck.

The exception to that is "carveries" where the kitchen team had the onerous task of roasting some large joints of meat, usually beef, port and turkey to a point where they are overdone, then place them under hot lights to finish of the cremation process in the restaurant. They also have to cook (?) vegetables, but invariably they turn out either virtually uncooked, of having gone down so far it's difficult to determine exactly what you're serving yourself with.

It is very sad that firstly, unless you go to a decent independent family owned establishment, you are likely to eat better food, properly cooked at home than going to a Toby, Harvester or Gawd forbid 'Spoons and watching the total lack of basic life skills of using a knife and fork you feel more like you're in a primary school dining room than a "restaurant" once you've got your pretty average plate of food. Worst, you've paid for it before you have even tasted it in many cases.

That about sums up the dire state of pub restaurants for the masses these days in UK. You can get decent food, it just costs a little more. We no longer eat out unless we can be confident we're going somewhere where the kitchen team can serve food better or more interesting than we can cook at home, and there are staff actually interested in looking after the customer who is, after all, paying their (albeit meagre) wages. South Asian and Thai restaurants provide some of the better affordable offerings in UK these days, and they generall aren't, by any stretch of the imagination "pubs".
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Old 5th May 2021, 12:20
  #77 (permalink)  
 
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What a terrible shame ATNotts.....the $ wins again then....

....But that said, there must be a market for the traditional Pub and it's attendant 'fare'? ... reading between the lines these 'Pubcos', are the chain operated establishments now? What a ghastly American methodology.

Here is a great place about 25 mins drive from here....

https://www.foxandhounds.net.au/

But we've only been once....too far in a taxi / uber ....and really expensive!
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Old 5th May 2021, 12:41
  #78 (permalink)  
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I just perused the menus of a 15 or 20 Cornish pubs I've visited and, of those with standard menus, it certainly seems to be the case that the ploughmans is a seriously endangered species... I found one.
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Old 5th May 2021, 12:45
  #79 (permalink)  
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There's nothing mysterious about the decline of the pub. It's due to drink driving laws, lager louts and supermarket licensing.
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Old 5th May 2021, 12:49
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I just perused the menus of a 15 or 20 Cornish pubs I've visited and, of those with standard menus, it certainly seems to be the case that the ploughmans is a seriously endangered species... I found one.
Just something that seemed intrinsically tied to a pub lunch in Southern England in Summer....maybe that is just my experience...
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