Table Service

Cor Blimey guvnor, who’d have thought it eh?  I was just about to hold my hands up and say that The Wickingman had finally sussed me out and I was becoming a #MiddleEnglandPubMan.

You know what I mean…no more edgy estate pubs but pleasant village boozers with beer gardens and very pukka punters.

The sort of places former Winshill boy turned Peak District connoisseur Thurman takes his other half to every week and why not!

However, just as I was about to report on the 620 – Bird in Hand CV9 3EG in Austrey, Mudgie copied me into a Tweet.

It was one of those Tweets that left me thinking WTF! 

Apparently this chap is a renowned beer writer, which is great, but how can you not want pubs to be vibrant and chaotic!  The very essence of pubs.

Having a craic at the bar, having a play up, drinking too much, avoiding the bar blockers and acerbic humour are just some of the things I miss when faced with table service.

Don’t get me wrong, anyone who visits a pub has a valid opinion but I really hope I don’t inhabit a world whereby I am ostracised for wanting to stand at a bar or even sing and have a laugh.

Anyway, feeling bullish that I am still an estate pub type of geezer compared to the Twitterati, I spent a very pleasant half hour in the thatched timber-framed 15th century pub.

Just two miles from Twycross Zoo this place is an authentic Middle England village pub on the borders of Warwickshire (West Midlands for this blog) and it is a tidy village.

An imposing church

allied to a classic pub and the ability just to walk in and sit down (outside on a table) for a beer means this is still a local.

Hobgoblin Gold (Wychwood)

In keeping with life post covid it was (a) pretty full and lively for a Saturday afternoon (b) had terrific cask beer on, albeit at northwards of four quid and (c) just felt absolutely magnificent!

There were lots of ankle biters, families, couples and it felt like most of the inhabitants of the village had descended on the local boozer….

What else can I say?  The sun was shining, the beer was flowing and everyone seemed happy with life.  However, I am looking forward to returning to the general cut and thrust of pubs such as The Springfield on keep me on my toes!!

21 thoughts on “Table Service

  1. “Cor Blimey guvnor, who’d have thought it eh? I was just about to hold my hands up and say that The Wickingman had finally sussed me out and I was becoming a #MiddleEnglandPubMan.”

    Starting with Cockney slang should put that to rest. 😉

    “The sort of places former Winshill boy turned Peak District connoisseur Thurman takes his other half to every week and why not!”

    Hey; if it works for them… 🙂

    “Apparently this chap is a renowned beer writer, which is great, but how can you not want pubs to be vibrant and chaotic! The very essence of pubs.”

    My guess is that he likes pubs in densely populated urban areas, but not those where ‘chimney pots’ rule.

    “Having a craic at the bar, having a play up, drinking too much, avoiding the bar blockers and acerbic humour are just some of the things I miss when faced with table service.”

    Yup. Very little chance to interact when you go straight to your table. Usually over here, if you started talking to the folks at the next table they’d think you were some homeless person who’d wandered in off the street!

    “Don’t get me wrong, anyone who visits a pub has a valid opinion but I really hope I don’t inhabit a world whereby I am ostracised for wanting to stand at a bar or even sing and have a laugh.”

    One should be able to choose; just like most things in life. 🙂

    “Anyway, feeling bullish that I am still an estate pub type of geezer compared to the Twitterati,”

    Good thing you didn’t misspell Twitterati! 🙂

    “is an authentic Middle England village pub on the borders of Warwickshire (West Midlands for this blog)”

    Taking it ‘up’ a notch I see.
    (we’re talking NUTS2, right?) 😉

    “and the ability just to walk in and sit down (outside on a table) ”

    That would brand one as weird over here. We sit ‘at’ the table, not ‘on’. 😉

    “(b) had terrific cask beer on, albeit at northwards of four quid and (c) just felt absolutely magnificent!”

    Ouch! But c) makes it acceptable. 🙂

    “couples and in felt like most of the inhabitants of the village had descended on the local boozer….”

    That should be ‘it’ unless all of the couples were wearing felt?

    “However, I am looking forward to returning to the general cut and thrust of pubs such as The Springfield on keep me on my toes!!”

    You and quite a few others!

    Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sadly, from personal experience (and that of others I know) that seems to be the case. Maybe not way out in the hinterlands, but most places I’ve been that’s the norm. My brother noticed it as well when visiting from France (he’s lived there since Dec ’89), and not just when out with me but also when out with friends from back in the day. It’s definitely not like there where he lives in northern France just south of Lille. Every little brasserie I went to with him we more often than not shook hands with those already there before being seated and folks would chat from table to table.

        It’s part of the reason I don’t frequent ‘bars’ over here. 😉

        Cheers

        Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s almost nothing I ‘prefer’ about the current opening, other than that they’re open, and as has been noted in ‘another place’, the beer is in pretty good nick. Mathew Curtis backtracks a little in the comments saying he wasn’t suggesting there should be no choice, but in fact that’s pretty much what he is suggesting. Table service is working reasonably well in my experience, but like most of the rules we have to follow at the moment, it seriously reduces the pub experience. Table service in the garden has become for me much less of a pub experience, merely a ‘beer’ experience, and I can often drink better beer at home. The pub ‘is’ about bar service, only those whose focus is almost exclusively on the ‘beer’ don’t get this, so it’s understandable a beer writer might miss the obvious here.

    Singing though… No Beermat, No!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Absolutely nailed it as usual Mark….It’s better than being shut and, to be fair, a valid point is made about relaxing street rules so entrepreneurs can set up but you can’t beat the bustle inside a pub.
      Not even a rendition of “Swing Low” after a Tigers win?

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  3. Beermat where do I start on things that irritate me about bar service?!! Bar staff who utter the line ‘Who’s next’? rather than monitoring the flow of customers at the bar. Queue jumpers who are oblivious to bar etiquette. Customers who believe that the public house also doubles as a bank as they ask for cash back to supplement their drink order. Punters that go up with lists (this crime often occurs around Christmas when the part time drinkers are out). Customers who feel that it is acceptable to return to their table on the far side of the pub to establish which flavour J20 Aunt Mable requires. Youngsters at the bar ordering cocktails or drinks ending in the word bomb that take ages to prepare when I just want a good old fashioned pint of beer…..I could go on and on and on….That said I agree with you, despite all the things I dislike about bar service I’d sooner put up with it than have Chantelle my waitress take my order at table 16. Rant over.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha love the angst!!! In my experience Aunt Mable always goes for the apple and mango J2O.
      I rmemeber in my younger days battling to the bar at Rosie’s nightclub in Solihull and it was an art form!! Good life skills learned

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  4. Many will agree with you about table service, but of course Beer Twitter and Pub Twitter are very different words, just as some people believe you can get excited about football without fans.

    I just want to get my own pint at the bar, say hello and pass a word there and then sit down. For some people, that’s the only human interaction they get in a day. Table service, with App ordering and payment dehumanises the process, and removes social interaction.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “For some people, that’s the only human interaction they get in a day.” Absolutely. Curtis makes the common error of assuming his experience is representative of everyone’s. For many people, just being in a social environment is the key thing about going to the pub.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. A great point made on the power of mental health and boozers. I often find myself chin wagging with the old boy at the bar who wants some company…
      Table service is fine for those who want it but there needs to be a choice

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  5. I like table service but we’ll see after the pandemic whether in a market it survives to any great extent.
    All depends whether enough people want it and it becomes a feature people look for and select pubs based on.
    It was popular in spoons with the app before the chinese gave us the lurgy.
    Bar service is popular enough to survive.

    As for the lad Curtis. I like the fella and don’t want to knock but people should kinda realise that among the bloggers that have published articles and books, some appear to be making a genuine commercial go of it (good for them!) and others appear reliant on vanity publishing. Public data at companies house even indicates who is pay rolling various endeavours. It’s possible to work out who is who and what is what.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good post Cookie 👍👍 yes I think the loosening of restrictions for outside drinking has been good and could see lots more pop ups appear.
      Fair play to anyone who visits pubs but interesting point you make on who is doing it for kicks and who’s doing it for kickbacks 🍺🍺

      Like

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