I was going to save the “Great Spoons Queue Debate” for my Bath post, but something happened in Cheltenham yesterday that wound me up that puts the Spoons issue into context.
The King of Wessex is a newish Spoons built alongside the “entertainment complex” for the town – Odeon, Nandos, the Bath Bath Store.
And it’s now the first Spoons, or any pub, that I’ve seen implement a rope barrier system for queuing at the bar. Unless you know better. The gentleman in front of me was a beer ticker; c.900 Spoons visited and he’d never seen the like.
It meant that bar staff only had to look at one person to know who was being served next, rather than desperately asking “Right, who’s next ?”.
I wrote about unofficial queuing in the Parcel Yard last month, when staff politely told customers (mainly tourists) to stop queuing and stand at the bar.
Some of you (BRAPA in particular) will no doubt be shaking with rage at the latest Spoons attempt to make themselves a non-pub. There’ll be offering tasters next…
I can’t get worked up about it in a Spoons or Ember or similar family diner with a big bar, but I think you’re safe in your local Sam Smiths.
You do tend to get efficient service in your local Sam’s though, with acknowledgement at the bar and getting served in turn. They might have the hump with Humph but they don’t take it out on their customers.
Yesterday I was ignored at the bar, and it wasn’t a unique experience. I’ll anonymise this edge-of-Cotswolds mews local, though no doubt Scott has already identified it.
With six blokes standing at the small circular bar, I found the one gap and got my change ready for a half of Otter. I tried to make made eye contact with the barmaid, who was finishing off a round of drinks. I may be ugly but I’m not hard to spot in my “I’M NOT BRAPA” T-shirt, but I didn’t get any recognition. And as you know, waving fivers, banging change or coughing loudly are pub sins.
Gin poured, the young lady came round from the bar to pick up some glasses from tables. “Hello” I offered as a way of establishing contact. Nothing. Back round the bar she turned immediately to a couple who’d just walked in. “Excuse me“, I said. “I think I was next“.
I might as well have been invisible. Perhaps I am. Eventually another member of staff came by and a friendly local pointed at me to indicate I’d been waiting a while.
It’s not the wait itself (a good 5 minutes, but my time’s my own); it’s the lack of acknowledgement that gets my goat. Even a nod or eye contact would do the trick.
Perhaps Disney-style ropes and queues out into the street are the answer.