Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Service Charge at the Bar?!

I have no real problem with tipping in restaurants, even if I do sometimes question this outdated dubious tax-avoiding practice. It is just something we have grown to accept and work into the cost of eating out.

Automatic service charges have become the norm now, which in my opinion defeats the object, removing any incentive from the server to work any harder.
If I tip someone I would like it to be because I want to, not because it is expected. Also, with the question of when is charging service okay, where do we draw the line?

My friend recently went to The Prince Albert Pub, Albert Bridge Road in Battersea, which is owned by Geronimo. He ordered three pints and asked about crisps at the bar. There were none, so upon being made aware of the bar snack menu, he ordered 3 oysters.

He stood at the bar and enjoyed the oysters.
When the bill arrived, however, there was a service charge on the entire bill (about 10-15%, he said). Along with the £12-worth of beer, it was about £2, nearly half the price of the £4.50 worth of oysters.

Automatic service charge for standing at a bar? Come on, that’s a bit much. It’s not something you expect to be confronted with for a bar snack and a few pints.

How very petty, and the perfect way in which to piss off your customers for the sake of two quid. It certainly puts me off visiting a Geronimo pub again, who seem to have secretly taken over all of the pubs in South West London.

Do you think it’s ok to charge service for what you have ordered and eaten/drank at the bar in an ordinary pub?

Let alone service, I remember when I was younger you would find hot roast potatoes served free on the bar!

How sad that Geronimo seem to be doing their best to iron out what decent practice was left in British pubs.

The Prince Albert

UPDATE // Geronimo Pubs have since emailed and apologised, stating that there is an optional service charge for tables only. And my mate's next round is on them.


  1. Excellent that they came back to you on the service.

    1. Indeed - bad service can be forgiven for a good follow-up.



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