Asked for my perfect pub – is there such a thing? – I’ve got my go to list of almosts that tick numerous imaginary boxes, but in recent weeks I’ve been faced with the ultimate challenge. To find the perfect pub for a wedding reception. My wedding reception. This may explain my New Year blogging splurge followed by a sharp drop. The pressure is on.
I’m in the throes of speaking to people, asking questions and making judgements. I’ve aimlessly walked the streets of London over the last weeks, looking at pubs and uncommonly for me discounted many without even a half to make it worth the trek. Lou will say that we should at least look inside but I shake my head. I’m becoming adept at first impressions. The painted words “Sky Sports” “Big Screen TV” and “Good Food” are usually enough for me to turn at heel and move on but the sense is being honed to a greater degree. Stood outside a pub the sight of faded menus, overflowing cigarette bins and flags of all kinds are added to the turn at heel list which seems to be growing ever larger.
Then comes the most important first impression. That of the staff themselves. If i’m fobbed off, flannelled or otherwise get the idea that they’d be rather doing anything else than talk to me, it’s an immediate mental red mark. I don’t expect trumpets to sound and a red carpet to unfurl but a little interest is surely key to me possibly spending thousands in their establishment? I don’t know, maybe I don’t understand the whole relationship here?
I find myself developing a system of strikes for details both big and small. When i’ve just explained that ages of guests are likely to be 4 to 95, nodding that is fine and mentioning Jager-Bombs in the next breath is liable to earn you a first strike. Hastily thrown together emails barely answering the enquiry, will earn you a strike; as will referring to craft beer as “difficult to come by”. Having doubled your original estimate, asking for a £1000 deposit and sending me a booking form, without sending any menu’s earns an immediate and irrevocable three strikes.
I’m sure anyone whose ever been on either side of these conversations would see these as unoriginal observations but all the same they are what seem to be occupying much of my time of late. It’s not all doom and gloom though. I’ve had some great conversations with people who know how things should be done; but invariably they are already booked well in advance. So the search continues and who knows maybe we’ll just have to get a bit more creative. This i’m sure won’t be the last mention of the impending nuptials but if Pub Diaries starts to verge on a wedding blog written by some rampaging Groomzilla, please, with my permission give me a verbal slap. For those of you who regularly share a drink with me – buy me another – followed by a slap.