opinion pubs

How do you feel about pubs closing for private parties?

“See, this pisses me off. I haven’t been to this pub in two years, I go out of my way, and it’s shut for a private bloody function.”

“I can’t begrudge them, not in February during a hospitality crisis. Guaranteed business when they might otherwise be totally dead.”

“But what message does it send? Don’t bother coming here, it’s never open.”

“Maybe it’s about the message it sends to the regulars and locals – that this is a space they can use when they need it.”

“Harrumph. I suppose my view is that only pubs with more than one room should host parties. One-room backstreet pubs aren’t designed for it.”

“So you let the big chain pubs have all the party business? And force people to have their parties in pubs they don’t like, or don’t have any connection with?”

“I think there’s something in the idea that pubs should keep regular hours, be open as often as possible, and resist the idea of reservations. They’re training people out of the idea of a quick pint. They’re making spontaneity impossible.”

“When you’re managing a business you don’t want spontaneous customers. You want to be able to plan staffing and project earnings.”

“But pubs aren’t just businesses…”

6 replies on “How do you feel about pubs closing for private parties?”

To play devils advocate here, you haven’t been in two years and you’re annoyed they have a private function? So they shouldn’t take guaranteed income in the off chance you might show up once in 104 weeks? How would you know ‘it’s never open’, even if that is the case? Honestly sounds like more a customer thinking entitled than reasonably.

My own opinion is that they should do what they need to for their business. In an ideal world they wouldn’t without a function room but we’re in far from that ideal.

It should come with some stipulations though.

1. It should be clearly shown on their socials. If I was going out of my way I’d have checked on those tbh.

2. It shouldn’t be at half capacity. Saw a pub near me do one recently who are normally full Saturdays and the party was half that.

3. It shouldn’t be every week.

4. Ideally they should be giving plenty notice both on socials and in the premises itself. That said I know of one pub where you don’t know whether it’s going to be open or not and their socials don’t help.

“To play devils advocate here…” Very much built into the format of the post, and encouraged!

“…and you’re annoyed they have a private function?” One of us was, the other wasn’t!

Your points are all valid.

For what it’s worth, we don’t use Facebook, and the pub hasn’t Tweeted since 2019. We did check their opening hours on Google and there was nothing there about restricted hours.

Fair enough.

I’m in the process of opening a place atm so my mind auto goes to that place.

On the flip side badly run places do register as an annoyance.

Fair point that not everyone is on socials and it’s poor they aren’t doing it.

Not sure if they have that function for temporary change on Google although it may have.

That said the place that I don’t know when it opens doesn’t even have regular opening hours. Annoying when you see a beer you fancy on their Untappd (although don’t get me started on that side of it with that business ?)

Sadly pubs are very much changing these days for a variety of reasons. I miss the good old days of them and would love their return. Sadly though I think they had to adapt or die.

I think the dose makes the poison. It would truly be annoying and would undermine the basic idea of a pub if it happened all the time. So there needs to be a limiting principle of some kind, it can’t just be oh it’s Gerry’s birthday, let’s reserve the Queen’s Hound & Pineapple for a few hours. But certainly for a regular celebrating something important, it seems okay.

Also a lot less annoying (and more profitable, in relative terms) on a random weekday than on a weekend, although arguably that’s more contrary to the spirit of a pub than closing on a Friday when it might be difficult to get in for a spontaneous pint anyway.

I don’t have a problem with it per se, but it does irk when the pub/taproom in question only posts about it on social media the morning of the private event. I have on several occasions had to chose a different place to meet friends on the fly because the place we had agreed on had a private event that they hadn’t posted about until that day.

Interesting! We have private events and ticketed events on at the bar — anything to make some gas-bill-money at the moment. Not often, mind, and usually at times of the week we’re quietest. Of course, this is usually when people we’ve not seen in months want to come by for a swift one. Sod’s law. The only time the bar is truly closed is when we have a film night (VERY infrequently) or if someone’s paid for exclusive use. We try to let everyone know well in advance that we’ll be closed during these specific hours but… when people tend to come by on Tuesdays still, even though we’ve never been open on Tuesdays, it’s hard to make sure everyone’s well aware.

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