According to Wikipedia, there are 53,500 pubs in the UK (Click Here). Obviously I haven’t been to all of them, but I can say that I have been to quite a few in and around London over the past 3 years. However, a couple of days ago I stumbled upon one pub that wins the prize for having the most RIDICULOUS policy in the world.
A friend and I decided to go for a quiet drink. It was relatively early on a Tuesday night, around 9 pm, when we entered The White Horse Pub in Parsons Green. I had never been there before, even though I live a stone’s throw away. I had visited the pub’s website and was impressed by the range of beers, ales and ciders it stocked, so being a true “drinks snob”, I thought it was the perfect place for me.
When we got there, we noticed that it was quite busy, so we cued up at the bar, waiting patiently for our turn (as you do in the UK). After a good 30 minutes, we noticed that for some reason, the bar staff was intentionally avoiding us (that’s what it seemed like anyway). Finally, one member of staff mustered up the courage and approached us. I tried to put in my order but was stopped abruptly and asked for ID to prove my age. This happens often, so I smiled, and jokingly asked him to guess my age. He said 19, and I laughed, so I pulled out my ID card, and proudly pointed at my birth year that read “1984”… making me 27 this year. He smiled back and said I look so much younger… but unfortunately he still could not serve us (note: my friend is 26).
This information shocked me, and immediately I asked : “why?”… and that was the golden moment where I was presented with ‘the most ridiculous policy in the world’…
Apparently, the policy that the White Horse Pub holds is that it only accepts UK Passports or UK Drivers Licenses. Here’s where the problems arose. I am Cypriot/American….and my friend is Palestinian/American…which means that neither of us have UK forms of ID….since we are NOT from the UK. For the White Horse Pub, this means no service. If you look young, and are not from the UK, you cannot drink at their establishment…(?@#$@#$?)
I asked to speak to the manager, and the bartender was reluctant, but went to get him. I watched him in a huddle with other staff members…and the manager. Then I noticed that the manager was totally uninterested to speak to me (his blank face and hand gestures were too obvious) and instead chose to send another member of staff our way. A new bartender approached us. This one was rude…so I guess he was the “tough guy” of the team. I re-presented my argument to him…and he gave me more stupid excuses, and tried to make arguments that were not valid, just to seem intelligent (something he lacked no matter how hard he tried).
I then asked him the golden question. “If I can travel between EU countries with my Cypriot ID Card, which means I can pass through UK Border Control, how is it possible that I can’t get a beer at the White Horse Pub in Parsons Green?!?”…he stared at me really confused, and tried to give me some inconsistent response which made no sense. After his soliloquy, he didn’t let me get another word in, and said “OK, sorry I cannot do anything else for you” and walked away. I stood there for 5 more seconds to allow it all to sink in, and then walked out, thinking that I shouldn’t be angry or confused, but that I should feel lucky to have come across “the most ridiculous policy in the world”…
We walked up the road to The Wheatsheaf where we got talking with the lovely bar staff, who were so polite and accommodating, and spent some time laughing at the ridiculous events that took place at The White Horse Pub.
What did we learn? We learned that companies like Mitchells & Butlers do not actually have any control over their brands like they claim they do on their website. It is also evident, that once again, the title of “Manager” in the UK means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING….and in reality, a barman has the same value as his boss. As for the overall experience at The White Horse Pub, I would have to give it an overall 0/10…sorry.