Hopefully, regular readers will have noticed that we try not to go for slagging off pubs and breweries: if we have a beer we don’t like, we tend not to mention it; or if a pub is nothing to write home about, well, we don’t write home.
There is one behaviour in pubs which is so annoying, though, that we have decided that we are going to start naming and shaming. That is where bar staff agree with you that a pint is off, give you a replacement, and then continue to sell it to other punters. (See also Pete Brown on this topic.)
There isn’t really any justification for this, unless the barman genuinely believes the complainer is wrong. In most cases it’s either ignorance on behalf of the staff (“it all tastes funny to me”; “Oh, yeah, this one’s meant to be a bit vinegary, I think”; “I’ll just humour the weirdo”) or blatant cynicism (“I know it’s ropey but most people are too polite to complain so I’ll keep flogging it”). In either case, it’s not good news.
So, this week’s badges of shame go to the Abbey in Westminster (to be honest, a rubbish place anyway, I was only there because someone else chose the venue) and the Old Dairy, Crouch Hill, North London. The latter has fabulous food, and is a great pub in every other respect (what a fantastic building) but unfortunately, their pints taste like warm butter, and they don’t seem to think most of their customers will care.