I’m totally tee-d off with pubs employing those ‘Eat. Drink. Sleep’ slogans under their signage. ‘Dine. Drink. Doze’ it says on another one local to me. Change. The. Record. ‘Food. Drink. Hospitality’ , one I encountered this past weekend, is less smug, although if I can’t presume naturally to expect all three I’d as soon see one that reads ‘Kiss, My, Arse’, for all that it’s going to seal the deal. Whatever happened to just hanging a sign with the establishment’s name on it ? Like, The Stiff Bezum or The Flying Viceroy, and below that, a bit smaller and only if you feel the need, something like, Food and Accommodation? It would be refreshing, almost, if someone would both resist the temptation to be entirely derivative AND be more straight up about their offer. AND be nice with it. You won’t be hiding anything if you neglect to expand right there and then on what you do. Anyone with any sense - and I’m aware that in this business you come across many without – will know that the buck in this racket comes from food, that if you’re trading at all it’ll be largely on the strength of a margin made in that area, and anyone else will come in and ask. Who knows, they might stay for a pint even if they’ve missed last orders. Imagine that.
Despite the reputedly calamitous state of the industry – as much, I think, a product of publicans’ apathy to shifting social trends as any obvious changes to the law - there are new or re-invented gaffs opening all the time. I’ve been to a number recently, all of which have had their moments and none of which have offended me. None, at the same time, bar maybe one – and that because of what it didn’t do -, have stood out too far for their individuality. It’s true, you can’t polish a turd - I mean to say, how many ways are there to do this shit? – but a greater sense, at least, that an owner or licensee had acquired a business to take it properly by the scruff of the neck, that they’d handpicked that venue more than anything because of what they could achieve in that specific space, to me would be quite revelatory.
If a place is on the market because it failed in its previous guise - and I’d do your research into said pub’s location before taking for granted this owed simply to the landlord’s idea of a food offer being to let a curry van put the jacks down in his carpark, and the fact he never wore any shoes - I wouldn’t even rule out changing its name. Delicate, if there’s history, but not insurmountable if you’re cute. Less delicate, planning permitted, would be to weigh in with a wrecking ball. Put your stamp on it. Or not, if you’ve been lucky enough to happen upon a real canvas. Do as little or as much as will let the room do the talking. Dress it up (or down), but only so that it might reflect the personality and profile you want it to have. One that becomes the building, and the one that sits well with your philosophy to entertaining and service. Your philosophy. Interpret, don’t imitate, echo rather than enlist. Much as I’m I fan of their palette, there are paint colours outside of Farrow & Ball’s. Just make it somewhere people will want to be, and that they’ll want to stay.
What was I saying? Oh, yeah, ‘Eat. Drink. Sleep’. F***. Right. Off.