Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Two Things What Happened


Mudgie is always banging on about children in pubs. In fact he admits it to being "a bit of a hobby horse". Frankly I don't tend to come across them too much in the pubs I go to, though we do often get quite a few on a Sunday afternoon in the Tavern, but thankfully most are very well behaved.  We get far more trouble from dogs. My other haunts tend to be relatively child free, though the Rose of Lancaster, where I am often to be found of a Friday tea-time, usually has quite a few eating with parents.  It is though so well run, with high standards and a manager that is always there and having a word if needed, that I am not bothered by them one bit. That's as it should be.  Well behaved children enjoying themselves are a delight.

Not so on Saturday night.  In a pub near me which won't be named, I entered around seven in the evening with my lass. Firstly, in a heaving pub, we could see that almost every table was inundated with uncollected glasses and empty plates. Food was till being served and we did find a seat after moving glasses to a nearby table.  Children were running about shrieking and chasing each other, using the steps as a jumping playground and getting under the feet of the customers, and dangerously, staff bearing plates of hot food.  They were unchecked by their parents.  This is the kind of thing that really annoys.  To me, together with the uncleared tables and the absence of a manager taking control,  this is a sign that the pub is being run badly.  Children aren't the issue really, as children will be children, but the failure of parents to apply discipline was magnified by the failure of pub management to apply standards.  We supped up quickly and left and won't be back at a time when children are there. It was just a bit of a nightmare.

On a different tack, last night at our CAMRA Branch meeting in the Baum, I had a beer from a brewery in Kent whose beer I know quite well, as it is often available in London.  Having had it in less than optimal conditions in London, I nonetheless think it as a pretty good beer and was looking forward to trying it under the assurance of the highest possible standards, in this former National Pub of the Year.  This example wasn't. It was distinctly phenolic.  Now here's the thing. Discussing it with some of my fellows, only one out of four of five that tried it identified the distinct (to me) TCP overtones.  I recalled Mark Dredge writing about this and stating "this is another off-flavour which some people are more susceptible to tasting than others". Too true and a reminder that we all perceive flavour differently.  How many times have you thought a beer dreadful while someone else loves it - or, indeed, vice versa?

So two issues. One easy to tackle and one less so. The joys of the pub.

Now someone is going to say "Why didn't you complain?" Well, I have complained about this pub before to the owners and clearly nothing has changed. maybe the potential revenue loss might be an issue.  I'll just vote with my feet.

 

15 comments:

Curmudgeon said...

Haha, you understand what I mean then!

This wasn't by any chance a branch of a well-known national pub chain, was it?

Dave Bailey said...

This is a subject I could write about at length, but I generally don't. I'm meaning the issue of kids, rather that phenols, although I do like both, in the right context and when well behaved.

Kids generally come with parents. It does seem to me that the little darlings are very much best enjoyed when accompanied by adults that are able to show of the youngsters at their best. From a pub operators point of view family trade can be desirable financially. Equally, different people have different views on what is acceptable family behaviour. As a publican it can be something of a difficult job to convince a family that their behaviour is outside the bounds of what the particular establishment finds civilised or even safe.

The knock-on of trying to manage such things can often find the establishment receiving bad publicity. One family gets upset because some jobsworth in the pub spoilt their family fun. They go and tell their friends and so on goes the bad news. One upset customer undoes the good experience 10 satisfied customers receive. If the pub is trying to be family friendly they seem to accept a little more high-spritted fun in the kids. Not my thing, but there is definitely a market for it.

As for phenols, I quite like them if they come from a smoky source, such as a good scotch, or rauchbier beer. However, if it is generated by misbehaving yeast, bacterial contamination or sometimes non-food grade pipes then it is not at all pleasant.

Cooking Lager said...

Them kids need training and disciple, how else they gonna grow up and be pub men? Like us.

Me said...

We have two youngsters ourselves-and I have to agree: poor parenting, and if you can't get your kids to behave, you shouldn't have the privilege of drinking in a pub with them in tow.

Tandleman said...

Mudgie: Not JDW.

Dave: Yes the money. That's it. Phenols. Great subject though.

Curmudgeon said...

@Cookie - to become a proper pub man, you have to be brought up to regard pubs as a forbidden adult sanctum, and only venture in at 15 or 16 when you think you've got enough bum-fluff to get served.

As Dave says, it is difficult for licensees to exercise control over unruly children and, if they try to, they can all too easily be accused of being a miserable killjoy.

Jon Binkley said...

I'm super sensitive to phenols, and it seems to be getting worse as I get older. I can't stand peated whisky, and even some Belgian ales I once liked I now find almost undrinkable.

Another big source not mentioned in the linked article is hot-side oxidation of grain tannins during mashing and sparging. It's one of the most common flaws I encounter in US "craft" beers.

kevin webster said...

Could the name of the pub in question be another word for "pinnacle" or maybe "apex"?

Soz, it's a bit wankerish of me to try to guess it when you've chosen not to name the place but my curiosity is piqued.

Erlangernick said...

Serves you right for ordering Shit-n-Scream.

Tandleman said...

Kevin: No. But you have me interested now.

Tandleman said...

Hang on. No it wasn't a Royton pub.

Phil said...

Spoons, shmoons. I can only remember being annoyed by kids once in a Spoons, which considering the number of times I've been in 'em is not bad. In fact, statistically, noisy or uncontrolled kids are at the bottom of my list of Spoons Menaces, last equal with "drunken woman trying to chat me up and knocking my drink over" and "guy at bar telling me loudly that I look like an IRA man" - and some way behind (e.g.) "huge gangs of young male drinkers occupying every available seat" or "large numbers of diners insisting on forming an orderly queue at the till".

The place near us that's a real menace for young kids, any day of the week and at most times of the day or night, is the Font in Chorlton; they've even started catering for them, with a stock of picture books and toys in the back room. It figures in a way - the 'craft' demographic skews young, and young people do tend to breed. But I can assure you that the bright young things who haunt the Font are just as bad at controlling their kids as anyone* you'll find at JDW's - and the kids behind the bar are rather worse at keeping the room in order than their JDW counterpart. More than once I've had to swerve a wayward toddler on my way back from the bar.

*Maybe not quite *anyone* - the lady who tried to make my acquaintance actually had a child in a buggy with her. In fairness, it was late. At least, she'd started early.

Erlangernick said...

Serves you right for ordering Shit-n-Scream.

RedNev said...

A pub I used to go to banned children because, the licensee told me, she was sick of running after them as darted through the front door into a busy street, usually unobserved by their parents. She was busy enough, she said, without having to chase after them - it was a pub, not a playgroup.

Mark Andersen said...

See this is the real problem with the smoking ban. Back in the day we'd just give the kids a pack of smokes and a book of matches and they'd entertain themselves quietly for hours in the corner of the pub. Well you can't foresee every unintended consequence I suppose.