Observations about Solomon Grundy, Wilmslow Road, Withington, Manchester, UK, Europe, The World.
Here is my experience today, and the judgements I have made as a result. I was desirous of a quick pint, and a place to sit and read, while waiting for someone. So I entered the establishment walked up to the bar and waited for service. I had my heart set upon a pint of Hoegaarden, and having frequented pubs now for many years was well versed in beer-buying tactics, methods and etiquette. For that reason I was surprised when someone stood next to me, not behind the bar like you would expect, asked me what I wanted. Looking at him I decided he worked there (he had that I'm at work look, and to illustrate his position was holding a tray), so I stated my case: I just want to order a pint of Hoegaarden.
No problem, he said. Just find a seat and I'll bring it over. I did so, took out my book, and between sentences I glanced around. Two waitresses separately asked are you ready to order and are you ok, can I help you. I said it was OK as he was bring my drink over. Eventually he stepped over with my drink. I enjoyed it and my book, and then packed up my paraphernalia and headed to the bar to pay on the way out. Can I help you, said the someone at the bar. I just want to pay for my drink. He looked over at a waitress using the till, then looking back at me asked for my table number. Remember this wasn't Wetherspoon's and I wasn't ordering food; I was paying for one (1) pint of beer.
I hadn't looked for a table number, but must have noticed it as the number eight (8) confidently popped into my head. After a brief err? I stated it and he asked the little one over there. I confirmed this. He turned to the girl by the till and said can I have the bill for table eight? After tapping on the screen and printing a piece of paper, he handed me the bill for one pint of beer on a saucer. I tried to hand over my money, but he was busying himself by fiddling with pumps and stuff and managed to ignore my payment until I had placed it on the saucer. He took the saucer and handed it back to me with the bill (presumably for my records) and my change.
I'd like now to restate the fact that all of this red-tape and rigmarole was so I could imbibe one pint of beer. If anyone from the Solomon Grundy's management has googled themselves and somehow stumbled upon this blog, can you please leave a comment explaining the reason (if any) for such stuff and nonsense. Does it make you feel important? In future would you like me to fill out a form stating my order, purpose of visit, and bra size. Will I need to book a table in advance? In the past I have visited Solomon Grundy – a pub – and been able to order a drink at the bar like you do in a pub. Is Solomon Grundy not a pub anymore? If not what the hell is it, cos it certainly looks like a pub, and serves the purpose of a pub. I just don't get it. We have a way of doing things, and if you want to flout that and come up with your own, you need a damn good reason. I hypothesise that Solomon Grundy lacks a reason.
One more thing: Anyone walking across the uneven tiled floor is likely to produce shoe-squeaks at a rate of approximately one every three-and-a-half steps. Once you notice this it is impossible to unnotice. It's like when you pick up on the sound of a particularly ravenous, open-mouthed eater lacking in self-awareness and public decency. However the squeaky shoe/floor is entirely due to an inanimate object , and has nothing to do with a person's level of consideration. As a result there were three very considerate waitresses and one considerate waiter (who should really have been barmaids/men) squeaking about all over the place.
Solomon Grundy's is a weird squeaky pub/non-pub thing. Oh, and it's overpriced.
P.S. It has on the wall, and has had for a very long time, the single worst painting I have ever seen. It is a disgusting sort of orange-swirly nightmare, with two hand prints in the centre made out of stuck-on shards of mirror. It has no redeeming features at all. It is the pseudo-arty-pretensions of a talentless crap-artist who clearly has no idea about art, aesthetics or concept. If my own child had made it I would need to work hard to grit my teeth, hold my tongue, grin and give them encouragement in the hope that one day they might get good. Tip: tip it.