Archive for the ‘pubs’ Category

The Lion and Snake toilets dragged past drinkers emptied in the street

July 14, 2020

Super Spreader Saturday, The Lion and Snake in Bailgate full of drunken yobs. It slowly got worse with urinating up the wall.

The following Saturday calmer, two portable toilets against the wall.

Tuesday the toilets padlocked.

No attempt to control drinkers. Not allowed to move from tables. One gets up, walks over to shout at a drinker in Prince of Wales Inn.

An open lorry pulled up in the street. Man in shorts wearing no gloves manhandled one of the toilets into the street, helped by two bar staff neither wearing gloves, both then go back into the pub, one picks up a pint glass from one of the benches, thumb inside the glass. None were wearing face masks.

Toilet dragged into the street is then emptied and cleaned in the street outside a restaurant and food shop. Stench unpleasant.

The same again with the second second toilet, though without help of bar staff.

Liquid from toilet cleaning flowing in the street.

Those who witnessed what happened were shocked and disgusted.

This should not have happened. Toilets should have not been dragged past customers, should not be handled by bar staff not wearing disposable gloves, should not be emptied and cleaned in the street, worse still in front of food retailers and restaurants.

Toilets should have been collected when pub closed, taken back to company to be emptied and cleaned.

This would be bad any time due to risk of disease spread. This at time of coronavirus.

Pub should be closed until further notice.

Action is need by local environmental health officers.

Super Spreader Saturday Lincoln

July 4, 2020

The first duty of government is to keep us safe. Boris Johnson is failing in this duty. — George Monbiot

An exercise in crass stupidity and greed, Saturday 4 July lockdown day one hundred and three the nation enters a mutual suicide pact.

If you want to push the reinfection rate above one, guarantee a second wave, then the best way to do so is to encourage drunks into pubs to drink themselves senseless.

Hospitality is not all the same – coffee shops, tea shops, restaurants, pubs, binge drinking bars and hotels – therefore should not be all lumped together.

With Leicester in lockdown, it should have served as a warning not to open pubs, not relax 2m social distancing.

Rishi Sunak encouraging people to get out and support hospitality. Not all the same – coffee shops, tea shops, restaurants, pubs, binge drinking bars, hotels – should not be lumped together.

Noticeable the lack of social distancing, be it a queue for Primark, coffee shops or drunks packed into binge drinking bars.

Central Coffee House have expanded their seating are outside Lincoln Central Bus Station which improves an otherwise sterile empty space.

200 Degrees not busy. No surprise when Coffee Aroma open and busy.

People who do not like coffee sat outside Caffe Nero.

Pre-lockdown, binge drinking bars top end of Lincoln High Street a major problem with drunks spilling out into the street.

Punters packed into binge drinking bars. People outside, the queues got longer as the afternoon grew longer, gangs of yobs going from one bar to the next.

Why a barricade outside The Snake and Lion in Bailgate forcing people into the road into the path of cars?

Outside, noise of the drunks audible into Westgate.

Excellent lunch at Elite on the Bail, haddock and chips. I was the only customer. Later a large family group luckily seated far away from myself.

Indie coffee shops and restaurants could have opened weeks ago if allowed tables in the streets, streets closed to traffic, pedestrianised.

As the afternoon wore on drunks getting worse and worse. Gangs of yobs roaming around, fights breaking out.

Marston forcing staff into work.

This is to overload police and A&E.

Misto coffee shop not open. Fourth visit not open. Word on the street shut down by local council for lack of planning consent for coffee shop.

The Strait and Narrow not open. Not all bars motivated by greed, some have consideration for staff and customers.

It did not have to be. Indie coffee shops and restaurants could have opened weeks ago if enabled to put tables well spread out in the street, streets closed to traffic. Pubs should not be open until covid-19 under control. And then only outside seating, No Smoking, no groups, no rowdy behaviour, limit drinks to one pint of beer or equivalent per customer.

One pub on Steep Hill was quiet. They made the point the drunken yobs were not welcome and would not be allowed in.

Not all the pubs were bad. Prince of Wales Inn and Magna Carta were not attracting the drunken yobs.

Pubs have to remain closed for the foreseeable future.

Earlier I had looked in on Forage & Fill a zero waste stall in Lincoln Central Market.

J D Wetherspoon plan to open in June

May 1, 2020

J D Wetherspoon plan to open in June.

Greed writ large. Not an essential business.

No end of lockdown in sight nevertheless J D Wetherspoon plan to open in June, bailed out by taxpayers.

J D Wetherspoon have form.

  • at the start of pandemic refused to pay sick pay to staff if called in sick
  • encouraged people to go out drinking
  • when forced to close told staff to get another job
  • refused to pay suppliers many of which are small craft brewers

One of the main causes of high death rate from covid-19 was the failure to close pubs bars clubs sooner.

To open, J D Wetherspoon would be putting at risk staff and clientele.

J D Wetherspoon staff have put forward a 10-point plan to be implemented before they return to work.

Workers used to fear going on strike for fear of losing their jobs. Now they fear returning to work in fear of losing their lives.

There can be no relaxation of lockdown until daily death toll drops into  tens, currently running at several hundred a day, with UK headed to be the worst country in Europe for deaths from coronavirus.

  • indie specialty coffee shops outside tables
  • local independent businesses
  • restaurants
  • pubs bars clubs

We already see some local businesses open, what can be described as essential, butcher, baker, pharmacy, fruit and vegetable stalls. Wetherspoon is not an essential businesses.

Coffee shops only outside tables spaced 2 metres apart, not meeting with friends. Served take away only, contactless payment, much as it goes against the grain to recommend either, but reduces risk of covid-19 infection, needs must and was standard practice before lockdown. Coffee shops because dwell time short.

Small indie businesses, for example bookshops.

Restaurant next, same rules as coffee shops.

Last and at the earliest next year, pubs, and even then phased,  small indie pubs, binge drinking bars the very last.

For those who wish for a  drink, small craft breweries,  for example Neon Rapture on-line deliveries and off-sales.

At each phase there would have to be a pause to asses.

There would have to be mass testing in place.

  • frontline at risk staff
  • people displaying symptoms
  • random testing

Random testing essential otherwise do not know what is happening within the community. And testing on its own not sufficient, need to test, trace, isolate

J D Wetherpoon by no means the only rogue company.

Zombie tour company tui is offering for May non-existent holidays in Spain.

  • lockdown cannot travel to airport
  • FCO advice no overseas travel indefinite
  • nigh impossible to obtain travel insurance and it will exclude covid-19
  • expired passports not being renewed
  • too risky passing through busy airport packed like sardines on an aircraft for several hours
  • risk of being stranded overseas
  • will have to quarantine for 14 days on return to UK

Spain is in lockdown. If we look to Tenerife, if and when hotels open, it will be for locals, then Spain, with Brits not welcome being one of the worst affected countries.

Fools and their money easily parted. Any who pay for a non-existent holidays will then have problems obtaining a refund when cancelled.

Tim Martin tells J D Wetherspoon workers to get a job

March 24, 2020

First it was forcing staff in to work when they wished to self-isolate under the threat of no pay.

Next it was tell people go out to the pubs.

Latest scandal from Tim Martin, now that Weatherspoon has been forced to close, to tell workers go and find a job.

Wetherspoon is refusing to pay suppliers until reopens. It is one thing not to pay industrial brewers, property companies, it is quite another to refuse to pay small craft brewers.

Wetherspoon is by no means the only bad employer.

Pubcos are forcing tied pubs to pay rent even though the pubs are closed and have no income.

Making kitchen is an essential work, nevertheless Wren Kitchens forcing workers into work putting workers and their families at risk.

There should be no bail out of Weatherperson, industrial brewers, pubcos. Bail outs should be for people and local indie businesses.

J D Wetherspoon refuse to pay sick pay of workers who may have coronavirus

February 29, 2020

Wetherspoon are forcing into work staff who may have coronavirus.

If follow WHO advice, government advice, may have coronavirus, self isolate. If work for Wetherspoon and follow this advice will will not be paid.

Wetherspoon workers who try to do the right thing, self-isolate and try to stop the spread of coronavirus are being told, either turn up for work or you will not be paid.

This is appalling treatment by Wetherspoon of their staff who may have coronavirus, come to work or you will not be paid.

This puts their colleagues at risk, drinkers in their bars at risk, hastens the spread of coronavirus.

Do you really wish to visit a Wetherspoon pub and not be sure if the person preparing your food, serving your meal, handing you a drink has coronavirus?

The only defence we have against coronavirus is containment.

Coronavirus is twice as infectious as seasonal flu, the death rate ten times that of seasonal flu.

My recent observations:

  • Toby Carvery bar girl sneezes twice into her hands then hands over two glasses of water
  • fish n chip restaurant waitress sneezes into her hands wipes hands on tea towel then uses to wipe glasses and cutlery
  • village pub with no soap in he toilet
  • trains with no running water or soap in toilets

It takes only one infected person forced into work by Wetherspoon to infect everyone in the bar.

Tim Martin boss of J D Wetherspoon has form, low pay, zero hours, opposed increase in rate of minimum wage, crap service, food not good.

I would urge everyone to boycott J D Wetherspoon.

Government is bringing in emergency legislation. This must include forcing bad employers like J D Wetherspoon to pay sick pay, and if any employee has been forced to return to work, hit with a a heavy fine, and if Wetherspoon has forced anyone into work, close down their pubs.

The emergency legislation must also oblige insurance companies to pay for cancelled holidays, to cover the cost if stranded overseas.

Lunch at Butcher & Beast

February 15, 2020

Never go anywhere on St Valentine’s Day, at least not eat out.

I made that mistake once, ate with friends at an Indian restaurant. It was so awful, so tacky.

I thought maybe lunchtime would be ok in a village pub.

Pub was busy, lucky to find a table, but then the pub tiny.

Pub full of dogs.

Menu far too many items, which is never a good sign.

I had decided on gammon steak, but as rump streak only a pound more decided on rump steak.

Asked the young lad serving of the soup. He did not know. He went and checked. Tomato and basil

Ordered the tomato soup. A long wait, soup never came, steak arrived, followed by a bowl of chips.

Steak was ok, worth paying three times what would pay Wetherspoon on Tuesday (if add in the beer)? No, on a good day, Wetherspoon better, on a bad day worse.

Not in the same league as steak in Athens. But then that was around 30 euros.

Onion rings were cold, peas almost cold, mushroom, tomato and chips hot.

The last part of my streak tough and grisly. I shared with two cocker spaniels, making friends for life.

Beer bitter, I would far have preferred a decent craft beer. Never confuse hops with bitter.

A choice of around half a dozen real ales. Far better than most pubs which serve the output of chemical plants owned international conglomerates. Better than the average Wetherspoon, look closer and note most of the real ales are from conglomerates.

Poor though compared with a good tap room. For example BearHeadz or Growlers & Cans.

White van chiller van pulled up and offloaded as finished meal (well actually a large lorry). Across the road an excellent butcher. That pub sources from a catering supplier, says all you need to know about the pub. I then popped across the road to the butcher. I will cook something far better than the pub served.

We are currently at risk of coronavirus. No soap in the toilet to wash hands.

The Brewhouse Project

July 25, 2018

The Brewhouse Project is a joint crowdfunded venture between Edgcumbes Coffee and Arundel Brewery.

Should they raise the funds they wish to create a café, roastery and brewery located on a site outside Arundel serving and selling craft beer and freshly roasted speciality coffee.

It will be possible to drink a coffee and smell the beans being roasted, drink a beer and see it being brewed.

It is hoped to have a food truck at weekends and evenings.

Death of the pub and the rise of coffee shops

January 1, 2018

Has the pub had its day, can it be replaced with something better?

According to a snippet on ITV News at the tail end of last year looking at the reopening of a pub, closed for a year, now reopened owned by the community, 29 pubs a week are closing.

If this figure is correct, and not simply regurgitating old statistics, then rate of pub closures as was several years ago. Actually the closure rate accelerating, four years ago it was 26 pubs a week.

Why? Why are pubs closing at an accelerating rate?

Pubcos are one cause of pub closure. These are property owning companies, zombie companies that make no money, can barely service their debt by screwing pub landlords and selling off assets, have large property holdings in pubs. They charge unaffordable rents, landlords are forced to buy drinks through the pubco well in excess of market rate, the landlord goes bankrupt, along comes the next mug to be fleeced of their life savings, or the pub if occupying a prime site sold off for redevelopment.

Pubcos are the classic example of extend and pretend. The banks keep them afloat. Kept afloat they can be listed on the balance sheet as an asset, when in reality they should be on the opposite side and would be if allowed to go bankrupt. There is no realistic possibility of loan repayment.

We also have an example of the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Pubs were owned by breweries. The pub forced to buy from the brewery. The punter left with little or no choice, price hikes, especially if the brewery maintains a local monopoly.

The breweries were stripped of their pubs.

What should have happened, landlords bought the pubs, ran as independent businesses free of the brewery tie. Unfortunately this did not happen. Property developers, the pubcos, borrowed heavily and bought the pubs.

For a brewery, a common interest with the pub in doing well. The more beer the pub sells, the more beer the brewery sells.

For the pubco, no common interest. If the pub closes, find another fool to part from their money or sell off for redevelopment.

Pubcos though are only part of the story.

Too many pubs are badly run, very badly run. They are not pleasant places to be. Noisy, dirty, moronic music blasting out, widescreen TV, pub quizzes, drunken loud mouth idiots, rude and bored bar staff wishing they were elsewhere, serving disgusting rubbish from a global conglomerate chemical factory.

Too many examples could be given. But to list a few. A pub that served excellent, if expensive meals, changes to serving disgusting food but still overpriced; a pub where it was possible to sit in the back courtyard, relax over lunch, clueless new landlord takes over, insults the chef, chef leaves, where once excellent food, choice now burger burger or burger, illegal structures built in the courtyard, goes down market, noise and nuisance alienates neighbours and local council; historic pubs, heritage buildings, destroyed by inappropriate developments; a pub where is was pleasant to sit by the river, until smokers took over — the list is endless.

I have not named the pubs, but others could easily write similar lists, and some will know the pubs I am talking about.

Why have no lessons been learnt from Tim Martin and Wetherspoon? I am no fan of Wetherspoon, or the food they serve, but at least they try, they serve real ale. A pity they insult coffee drinkers and serve LavAzza coffee, even worse from a  machine.

But have the audacity to say pubs badly run, and the pissed trolls emerge from under their bar stools to add their ill-informed two-penny worth. And this included an abusive Camra regional official. A bit like being in a pub.

What we are seeing is an example of postcapitalism. The economy goes one of two ways.

  1. Serfs working for apps, eg Deliveroo and Uber, low paid part time temporary soul destroying McShit jobs, eg bar work, companies like Wagamama and the coffee chains.
  2. Open coops, collaborative commons, sharing society.

If pubs are to have a future, and looking at the current crisis, this is doubtful, pubcos have to be stripped of their pubs, as was the breweries, run free of tie, run as open coops, and far better managed than too many are currently.

Indie coffee shops are rapidly becoming the third place, the place to be to relax, not work, not home.

A well run indie artisan coffee shop, pleasant ambience, clean, art on the walls, live music, acoustic, jazz, classical, people sat chatting with friends, or sat reading a book or working on a laptop, craft beer, quality food and wine, books to browse, and of course serving excellent speciality coffee. And for lone females, added advantage of not being sexually harassed.

It is somewhat ironic, more likely to find craft beer, wine worth drinking, in a coffee shop than in a pub.

Warehouse Speciality Blends is known for its wine, The Underdog for craft beer,  Taylor Made for its cocktails,  Just Made 33 for its food. All serve speciality coffee, either roast their own beans or source from a reputable roastery, take a pride in their coffee.

Atlantis Cafe is a coffee shop in Liopetri, a one horse town, difficult to get to, where tumbleweed blowing through would not look out of place, a coffee shop with a pleasant ambience, where people relax, chat with their friends, play backgammon, that is busy until late. In the tourist areas, the slum bars attract the drunks, the bottom end of the tourist market, stay open until late, but are not busy, many are facing closure. The tourist industry spiralling downwards, the situation in the Middle East granting a temporary reprieve.

Atlantis Cafe, middle of nowhere, is busier than the tourist bars.

Coffee shops in Europe were the places of intellectual dialogue, political and philosophical discourse, haunts of artists. This did not happen in the English ale house, violent political discourse would have rapidly led to blood being shed.  The amount of alcohol consumed leading to retarded offspring.

When was the last time you saw bouncers on the door or a fight break out in a coffee shop?

What if a pub closes, a building that has historic value, is registered locally as a building of historic value, its community value recognised by registering as an Asset of Community Value (though it is difficult to claim a pub an Asset of Community Value when a myth it ever was), sits empty for several months, is stripped bare, restored to how it was as an historic building, reopens as an artisan coffee shop by people who are passionate about coffee, maybe in the evening a restaurant, where the emphasis is on ambience, service, good food, serves craft beer, wine, a venue that hosts cultural events, live music, book discussions and book signings, poetry reading, serves as a gallery for local artists, have we lost anything, or has the community and the local economy gained?

Lunch at Butcher and Beast

February 14, 2017

Lunch at Butcher and Beast in Heighington.

Butcher and Beast  is an old pub, built of local stone, located in the village of Heighington.

As you walk in, you are greeted by an open fire, a small bar. The fire welcome on a cold day, only problem, a blast of cold air, every time the front door opens.

The last time I ate here, a year ago, the food was not good. Had it improved?

In the past have gone into a back room, where it was very cold. Today, in the front parlour where it was bright and sunny. The back room was very dark.

Later joined by a friendly dog.

Soup was carrot and coriander, served with a bread roll and butter. Not a great favourite. It was served lukewarm. Not a great start.

Crispy prawns with salad and sweet chili dip were excellent. And served piping hot.

The gammon steak, served with chips and peas and a slice of pineapple was also excellent, though one of the gammon steaks was of a poor quality cut.  The chips were fresh.

For a tiny pub, with a  very tiny bar, a  surprising wide choice of real ales. A Bateman tied pub, therefore most were sourced from Bateman. I chose one which I think was called Taylor’s Landlord.

The barman, did not know how to serve. Very cloudy, but soon settled down laving a beautiful amber colour.

Heighington is a Lincolnshire village of stone cottages, not far from Lincoln. Its only tea shop closed a couple of years ago. The Post Office has also closed. There is now a tiny Post Office counter in the local Spar shop. Also hidden at the back of the Spar shop is the local butcher, one of the best in the country. It is worth a visit, for his Lincolnshire sausages.

Afternoon in Guildford

June 13, 2015

First half of Friday afternoon, was a wild goose chase to find somewhere for lunch.

Options to eat in Guildford, at least somewhere decent, are rapidly vanishing.

Guildford Institute used to be excellent for Friday lunch, but no more as the lady who did the lunches has left.

I popped in Friday, to be accosted and told I had not paid. I was surprised, but, one can forget, and so I apologised and paid.

I left and gave it some thought.

How did the lady know, she was not there last week?

The amount I was told I owed, was not what my lunch cost last week.

And then I remembered, I had paid. The reason I remembered, as I had attempted to pay, as I usually do, where the food was served, but had been rudely told to go round to a hatch where they accept payment.

Something very wrong.

kebabs at The Royal Oak

kebabs at The Royal Oak

I was now on my way to The Royal Oak.

A few weeks back, I had popped in for a drink, and the chef had brought out an excellent kebab, put it on the bar, and suggested help yourself, he wished to know what we thought. It was excellent. So excellent that I popped back another day to try, only to find the pub had closed and changed hands, but the chef was still there.

Today I thought try again. Awful music playing, two sullen women behind the bar. I asked of the kebabs. They looked at each other. No, we don’t do kebabs.

I walked out with the passing comment, I have tried twice, there will not be a third attempt. I did not think to ask was the chef still there.

We are too polite. We accept second best. More people need to walk out.

It was then back to Guildford Institute.

I explained to the lady the situation. I asked what she thought I had had for the sum she claimed I owed. It was eight pounds and something. I then told her what I had had, main course, sweet and a cup of tea, which came to £10-50, more than she said I owed. Thus how could it be I?

And how did I know it came to £10-50? As that is what was on the bill I took to the counter to pay.

Begs the question who the bill was for, the bill it was claimed I had walked out without paying?

She said it was her daughter who made the claim. That I had tried to pay, had the money in my hand, but as I was talking, I walked off without paying.

Bizarre.

Luckily, she accepted something was wrong, and gave me my money back.

I asked could I get something to eat? She said no. They were packing up. Though I was offered a sweet.

But what is worrying this is the second time it has been claimed I had not paid.

The Keystone courtyard covered over graffiti covered wall

The Keystone courtyard covered over graffiti covered wall

It was then down to The Keystone.

The Keystone was an excellent pub, but the landlords fell out amongst themselves, the pub went downhill, and eventually a new landlord took over. A new landlord who has been a disaster. His first act was to lose a good chef.

It used to be pleasant on a sunny afternoon to sit outside in the back courtyard and have their excellent fish cakes. I found the courtyard covered over (now dark and gloomy instead of open and airy), awful music playing (it was bad enough in the pub but at least the courtyard was quiet), and the back wall covered in graffiti (an unbelievable eyesore which the local council should enforce a clean up). I asked for the fish cakes to be told they did not do them any more. It was burgers or nothing. I walked out.

Looking from the church (and there are arms houses further along), the back of The Keystone looks like something out of a Third World shanty slum. is there planning permission for the unsightly structures that have been erected? Jobsworth from the local council need to get out and about a bit more (their office a few minutes walk along the road) and carry out enforcement.

lunch at Thai restaurant

lunch at Thai restaurant

Back up the High Street and late lunch in the Thai restaurant in Jeffries Passage. It was excellent. I should have gone there first.

We are losing many pubs every week. Too often it is greedy pubcos, selling them off for redevelopment. But it also badly run pubs too.

J D Weatherspoon, may be a chain, but their pubs are well run. That is why they are successful. If I go into Harris + Hoole for a coffee, the staff are always great, plus the tea and coffee and cookies are excellent too.

I contrast with the two pubs I visited yesterday. Bar staff who give the impression they are bored and would rather be somewhere else, indeed anywhere than where they were.

The two pubs empty. Harris + Hoole always busy, as it was today. Says it all.

Attitude is one problem. But awful music playing is another.

Both pubs had awful music playing. No, I do not wish to have the bad musical taste of other people imposed upon me.

Again, look to J D Weatherspoon, other than when full of roudy drunks, quiet, no music.

As it was a very warm humid afternoon, iced tea in Harris + Hoole.