A tale with a sorry aftertaste. More on that shortly.
We’d had a pleasant morning bimbling around Oxford, dawdling around the shops and the market, and just not doing a lot. We needed somewhere for lunch. Somewhere with a great selection of beer and some nice food. Pint Shop looked like it would fit the bill.
We arrived upstairs and were directed downstairs to the dining area. Despite being a Saturday lunchtime, it was pretty deserted, so we got a table for our group easily, settled in, and ordered some food and drink.
For me, a pint of Release the Chimps, delicious bitterness from Nene Valley brewery. It was certainly better than one of Matt’s which was incorrectly described as “over conditioned”. That might have happened in the 1970s when additional carbon dioxide was added to casks to make them last longer. This one had simply been around too long, and was on the turn.
Food arrived after a bit of a wait. A twist on a pub classic for me, chicken and chips, with frisee and a garlic butter. The chicken was delicious and tender, the chips were good, and the garlic butter was well judged. The frisee worked but it’s not really the best of leaves. Mrs MOFAD always says that it looks like the slugs have been at it.
As you can see, it was pretty empty inside. Quite modern and hipster-ish, but not over the top.
A final mention for the beer board. A good selection available, which is what drew this particular establishment to our attention in the first place. Loads of Thornbridge on (the most I’ve seen on tap outside of the Thornbridge beer festival), one from Magic Rock, the aforementioned Nene Valley (the only reasonably local offering), and one time craft beer Camden Hells (now part of a super-global-mega-corp).
So that’s all the sweet part. Here comes the sour part. We asked for the bill. We received the bill. There was an optional 10% service charge included. We opted to pay what we wanted as a tip. The bill came back.
“Sorry you’ve not paid enough”.
“The service charge is stated as optional.”
“Ah, but you have to pay this bill in full or we have to produce another bill.”
“Off you go and produce another bill then.”
We then paid that bill and left our own optional tip. Which was less than it was going to be after that petty bureaucracy.
A fuller post about service charges is something for another time. But forcing them upon customers really annoys me. Pay your staff properly so we don’t have to be guilt-tripped in to topping up their wages. If you’re charging 6 quid for a scotch egg, you can probably give a quid of that to your waiting staff.
Anyway, enough moaning. Good food, good beer (apart from one that had been on too long) and a nice place in the city centre. Worth checking out if you’re dreaming of beer in the dreaming spires…