FICS (Frequently Irrelevant Complaints)

Think of this as an alternative FAQs. This is where you come to discover whether your opinions about bars are ill-founded, irrational, narrow-minded or just plain wrong.

  1. The staff were so rude!

Were they? Do you demand painted on smiles and fake sentiments like in America (where they are really just trying to bleed you for tips?) Unless staff in bars are being hostile in an unwarranted and offensive fashion, you really just need to grow up. There is no obligation at all to treat you in a master/servant fashion. In some European countries it works differently – you are not rewarding them with your presence – you are merely a guest permitted to be in their establishment. They are the hosts and you are in their house. You may come to be on nodding terms with staff or even become their friends if you go there long enough, but until then, they aren’t going to be simpering over you and mollycoddling you. Just get used to the fact it works differently in some places and stop clogging up Google Reviews with your precious outrage.

    2.  This place is full of old people!

Do old people scare you? What do you think will happen – are they going to drain your life force? This peculiar one first cropped up when living with Canadian teachers, who found it alien in England that young people freely share the same recreational space as the middle aged and the elderly when it comes to pub going. Newsflash – going to a pub to have a tasty drink and a chat is inter-generational. Try talking to one of them.

    3. Urgh, everything’s all old and dirty!

Welcome to your first time in a venue that wasn’t serving alcopops and playing funky house. The median of a bar and pub is not chrome and leather and the smell of disinfectant, we have these things called heritage, character, tradition. There is no excuse for certain unhygenic elements but don’t confuse aged furnishings and peeling plaster for being run-down. Have you considered some places are happy it looks that way?

    4. Where is the music?!

A particularly fun one, this. For whatever reason, there is a cross-section of society who were born without the capacity to conceive of going to a social gathering where music isn’t involved. Instead they are tortured by otherworldly places where humans simply turn up to drink, chat and read a paper. Clearly aliens of some sort. I suspect the people who complain about this are terrified of having to contribute to a conversation, or that silence and calmness leaves them unable to conceal the yawning blankness at the heart of their soul. Music definitely elevates the atmosphere of a place when it’s well chosen and at the right volume. It can also very quickly make a place unbearable. However, a pub without music will always allow you the opportunity to fill in the space with the activity you desire – reading, talking, playing games, and so on. The world is full of mainstream bars playing music at full volume that are absolutely empty, and the owners haven’t yet worked out what the problem is.

   5. I couldn’t get a coffee!!

Seriously, can you not just visit a coffee shop? Or please stop clogging up google reviews of bars with this bullshit comment. If a place isn’t serving coffee then consider that’s a decision they’ve made. There’s a distinct difference between a person running a pub the way they want, focusing on beer, or cocktails for example than it just being some unbelievably incompetent pub that can’t work a coffee machine. I read recently a coffee shop decided not to let mums in with prams, on the basis that they took up all the space in the pub, deterred other patrons and didn’t actually buy anything past the first rounds of coffee. They were within their rights to tell those precious yummy mummy squatters with their squealing sprogs to sling their hook. Similarly, if a pub wants to concentrate on churning out one beer only, and succeeds, there’s a plaintive and wholly admirable quality about that, in a world where you can have anything of your choosing (so long as it’s average and expensive). Minimalism is sometimes the hallmark of a great pub, and there’s no requirement at all for a pub to serve coffee. If it does, fine.

6. It was dead when I went in!!

Well, you know, such is life. Some of these places work just as well quiet or busy, but no recommendation I can give comes with a cast iron guarantee that seven days a week every hour of the day the place is at its optimum. Of course, the more I know about a pub’s waxes and wanes, I shall let you know. At the very least, you’ll still be in a better pub than that really awful looking one over the road!

7. It was closed when I tried to go!

Did you try to find out the opening hours in advance? Many traditional pubs still close on a Sunday afternoon for example. Some family run places open and close whenever they see fit. There are pubs and bars that inexplicably close at odd times, and usually there are private reasons for this – the world doesn’t revolve around you. Leaving a bad review on Google (or anywhere else) because a place was shut is unfair and spiteful. Grow up.

 More to come as and when THE ANGER RISES