Tuesday, 19 February 2013

A Virtuoso Performance

I like to see a good professional at work, particularly when it comes to service in a pub. We all know how bad it can be and indeed, usually is, but sometimes, just now and then, you come across a performance that makes you think "That's how it should be."

On Saturday, after a quick and first visit to Friends of Ham in Leeds, I went to my old haunt the Palace, where I was being picked up by my better half. The Palace used to be my usual Leeds drinking den when I worked there and you can see from its large windows, Quarry House where I slaved away. It is a Nicolson's pub now, but in my time it started off as plain old Tetley's before becoming a Festival Ale House and then something under whatever the forerunner of  M&B was. It has always been a good place to drink, with its large picture windows, dark wood and various nooks and crannies. It has always too had a good selection of beers and I can (not very well) remember among many other boozy visits, delicious encounters with Ind Coope Burton Ale. It is still a fine place to drink in now.

 When I called about one o'clock, it was quite busy, but I was able to stand in my favourite spot, just where there is a kink in the bar making almost a little alcove. The lone barmaid was serving at the other end of the bar and looked round. "I'll be with you in a second Sweetheart" quoth she. Brilliant stuff, and an immediate big tick from me. A moment later she was over, smiling and taking my order.  I watched fascinated as she ran the bar like a true professional.  Everyone was given a greeting, a word here and a smile there and advised their place in the "queue".  She served two at once, flew up and down and controlled it with a skill that seemed natural to her. She was on her own for a good twenty minutes, yet no-one waited long, everyone was put at ease and thus the ship sailed along in happy harmony.

When it got a little quieter, I asked her what her name was and complimented here on her performance.  It is Melissa for the record.   Running the show like that isn't easy, but boy did she handle it well.  It reminds me that every job is what you make it and she made it look simple, which it actually is.

A great barmaid in the old school sense and I was taught by the best, so trust me on this one.

I was also treated to a virtuoso performance in how to keep four seats to yourself in a busy pub, but that's for another day.


Professor Pie-Tin said...

Excellent post, old cock.
When I owned a pub working a busy Saturday night with someone who had the right attitude made all the difference.
And you're right, it is easy if you don't mind hard work.
I bet she was a looker too. A good barmaid who is easy on the eye is worth their weight in gold.

PS: Fried Spam. Nom,nom,nom.

Tandleman said...

I am far too much a gentleman to comment on her looks, but as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

She was a great barmaid. Good enough for me.

RedNev said...

Give me friendly efficiency over looks in a barmaid any day. Little point in having a pretty barmaid who makes no effort to serve in order or - worse - serves her mates or lads she's trying to impress first.

Curmudgeon said...

Serving the customers in the right order seems to be a dying art nowadays.

Tandleman said...

Serving them at all seems beyond many.

Anonymous said...

I know melissa and her twin laura they have worked for me and my mam and are hard workers and fab girls

Erlangernick said...

Bit late coming to this, but I have to concur: my couple of visits there last March left me similarly impressed by a young barmaid, though I wasn't charming enough to have gotten her name. Probably the same one though. I think I even drank in your kinky corner on the bar.

Great place.

Tandleman said...


I hope you have pointed Melissa to this article. I also wrote to her employers (Nicolsons) praising here. Needless to say they haven't bothered to get in touch. Hopefully they have passed it in to Melissa.

Perhaps they get so many compliments about their staff that it is too difficult?

No? Thought not.