The Ten Commandments of a West End Bar

1. THOU SHALT NOT NAME THY BAR AFTER ITS STREET NUMBER

That was kind of neat the first time, but after a while it got old.

2. THOU SHALT EMPLOY POLITE BOUNCERS

I appreciate that you need bouncers at a busy bar. Nobody wants their evening ruined by drunken louts kicking off. I also think it’s reasonable to search bags. But when you have ones that basically seem to work on the default assumption that the person coming in is a murderer, it does not make your bar look good.

3. THY BAR STAFF SHALL BE QUALIFIED FOR THEIR JOB.

It is good that your staff are pretty, but if they don’t know how to pour a pint or how to make a cocktail that is on the damn cocktail menu, it’s all for nothing. In Italy, a professional cocktail waiter is regarded in much the same way as a professional chef. In Britain, we seem to be satisfied to let anyone do it. Lame.

I recall one occasion when I had to spend about five minutes explaining to a barman whose first language was not English (it wasn’t his second or third either) what a “Guinness and black” was.

4. THOU SHALT TURN THE MUSIC DOWN

Now we both know why you have the music on ridiculously loud. Because the harder it is for people to talk to each other, the more they drink. But come on, they were going to get wasted anyway. Loud and bland music just annoys people. Unless you have a dance floor, of course, in which case I’m in the wrong for trying to have a conversation while everyone else just wants loud and bland music.

5. THOU SHALT SHUN THE BOG-TROLL

I’ve ranted about toilet attendants before, so I’ll keep it simple. I know how to turn a tap on. I know how to squirt soap on to my hands. I know how to dry my hands. I do not need any assistance with any of these things. They are not difficult or tiring. Therefore, I will not pay for someone to do them for me, particularly as I have not requested assistance.

6. A BOTTLE HOLDS LESS THAN A PINT GLASS, THOU SHALT CHARGE ACCORDINGLY.

I appreciate that some beers are more exotic, and so it’s fair enough that you should charge more for them than you would for your regular Carlsburg or Fosters. When a bottle of regular, ordinary lager in your place costs more than a pint of the same in the pub down the road, something is wrong.

7. THY STAFF SHALL BE NEITHER OVER-ZEALOUS NOR UNDER-ZEALOUS

Attentive staff are great, so long as they’re not too attentive. Last night we had bar staff coming round every few minutes trying to take our empty glasses, even when they weren’t actually empty. Seriously, I was drinking that champagne.

8. THOU SHALT NOT SHILL THY BAR TO THOSE ALREADY IN IT.

You know what I mean – those huge TV screens showing endlessly-looped footage of people having a good time with a message reminding people that they can hire the bar. By all means advertise, but at least be discreet about it.

9. THOU SHALT NOT MICROWAVE

This one, I think, is pretty self-explanatory. Food is there to be enjoyed, if people can’t enjoy it then there’s no point.

10. THOU SHALT NOT HAVE SOMEONE COMING AROUND TRYING TO SELL YOU SHOTS, THAT IS JUST CRASS

Again, we know how this works. Attractive woman comes around trying to convince guys, on impulse, to buy a round of shots. The idea is that the guy will think that by purchasing shots, he stands a chance of having sex with this woman.

Having said that, the only people who fall for this probably deserve it anyway, so I’ll let you have that one.

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Filed under Booze, Clubbing, Current events, Food, London, Soho, West End

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