A pub landlady has been told to serve her customers more slowly as part of a deal with Westminster Council to help her retain her licence.
Staff at the Newman Arms in Fitzrovia have been told they should fully complete every transaction before they move on to the next customer, meaning they would not take a new order while waiting for a pint to settle or while waiting for a credit card to be cleared.But wait, it gets better – it’s all her own fault!
The condition is not a legal requirement for the pub but has been recommended by council officials following a jokey remark by Ms Hunt at a mediation meeting designed to avoid a review of the licence./facepalm
“We have lots of people drinking outside and we know Westminster wants to clamp down on that, At the meeting I just said as a joke, maybe we should serve people more slowly so we get fewer people coming.
“It was meant to be sarcastic but they immediately said they thought that would be a good idea and then we got an email saying we should go ahead. We couldn't believe they were taking it seriously but I feel like we’re stuck between and a rock and a hard place because we don’t want to fall foul of the council and our licence reviewed or revoked.”Oh, dear, don’t you know that local council officials have no more sense of humour or ability to self-mock than a stone?
But why should you so fear a licence revocation anyway? Do you run a rowdy establishment?
The pub is on a cobbled mews and is only open weekdays. Mrs Bird added: “We have never had any complaints from residents about noise, there’s no problem with violence - we’re just a popular local pub.”So, you’re a successful business that pulls in rateable revenue for the council. What’s their problem?
Oh. Hang on. That probably is their problem, isn't it? That, and the fact that they just can’t bear to see people enjoying themselves…
A spokesman for Westminster Council confirmed the proposal for the slow-paced serving had come up in the mediation meeting and had been taken as a serious suggestion rather than a joke, but said it was not a legal condition of the licence.
Cllr Audrey Lewis, Westminster City Council licensing chairman, said: “Staff at the Newman Arms are free to serve drinks at whatever pace they choose. “The idea to slow down service came entirely from the pub owner. While it might have been meant light-heartedly, all suggestions by the landlady were taken seriously by officers because we wanted to work with the pub owners to avoid a review of their license.
"That was the point of having a mediation meeting to discuss congestion outside the pub, in which their solicitor was present."Local residents deny any issues with congestion, saying the pub is no worse for this than many others in their area. Unfortunately, some also give Westminster busybodies ideas, and that’s always unwise!
Emily Cookson, 23, student services officer, from Streatham said: “Personally I think it’s ridiculous. It’s someone’s livelihood at the end of the day. The next thing you know they’ll go to theatres and say ‘it’s too loud when they’re leaving’.
“You either put people out of work or deal with the fact you’re in a busy city.”They don’t care about putting people out of work. They themselves are always employed, aren't they?