I am reminded of the old Pete and Dud line of “the worst job I ever ‘ad” with the question – “what’s my worst pub experience?” Sadly I have to say my worst pub experience was in 2011 in a local pub in Chislehurst (it is so bad it’s not even shown on Google Maps!) Having been overseas for some time I caught up with my brother to visit some pubs we used to frequent in our younger years. Having had a rather pleasant evening in 4 nice pubs we decided to sneak in another at the Impy (as we called it). The pub was just a little too quiet when we arrived and I did wonder whether it was still open.
It was my round so my brother said he would stand outside with a cigarette whilst I purchased something to imbibe. Perhaps the lack of noise should have been a warning, but I missed it. My brother had his lighter out as I pulled the door open and was met by the smell of bad farts. I advised my brother that he should light his lighter away from the pub, as I had a vision of the whole place going up and me being left holding the door with soot all over my face! I walked in and purchased 2 pints of Courage Best. The smell was so unpleasant inside, I decided to have our beer in the open.
The first sip of our beer was a huge disappointment, indeed the beer was off. I reluctantly ventured back inside to change the beer for a better pint. The landlady, a rotund thing perhaps more suited to running a seaside bed and breakfast, considered me with outright suspicion when I advised that our beer was “off”. “Well do you want another one”, “Perhaps if you just pour some into a glass first” I suggested and she got the barmaid to do so. Sadly the beer was cloudy as I held it up to the light. I pointed this out to the landlady and she replied that the barrel was new and that there was nothing wrong with it.
The conspirators sitting around the bar had their heads down and didn’t make eye contact. Very politely I pointed out that the beer was not of an acceptable standard and to my surprise she said “well! there is nothing I can do about that, did you want your money back?” “That would be an acceptable solution” I replied, to which the barmaid obliged. I bade them farewell, collected my brother and walked through the village to the Ramblers Rest for a decent pint.
My brother was somewhat bemused that I had complained and actually got my money back, as he thought that it just didn’t happen that way. But the truth is, if you pay for a beer, you must expect that it will palatable. Serving bad beer is counter-productive for the customer, the pub and the brewery.
Stand up brothers and assert your rights for decent beer.
Thankfully since writing this blog, the pub has changed owners and is now a cracking local pub.