Bristol pub charges up to 50p more if you order at the bar

The Coronation Pub Ben Cheshire has defended charging customers up to 50p more to pay at the bar
The Coronation Pub Ben Cheshire has defended charging customers up to 50p more to pay at the bar -Credit:PAUL GILLIS / Reach PLC

The owner of a pub in Bristol has defended charging up to 50p more for drinks bought at the bar compared to drinks bought via a smartphone app. The measure was brought in by owners at The Coronation in Southville following the Covid-19 pandemic, when many bars and restaurants switched to in-app ordering and table service.

Pub owner Ben Cheshire said it was a "real shame" that most establishments have reverted to ordering at the bar and added that he is a "big advocate" for European-style service. Ben believes the lower prices customers receive when ordering through the app is popular with people looking for a discount, but 90 per cent of pub-goers still choose to order at the bar - even when told of the added cost.

Prices vary between drinks, but some cost as much as 50p more when bought at the bar versus the table. Ben explained his patrons became younger following the pandemic and that his "older crowd" disappeared "completely overnight" after the pub implemented the necessary social distancing rules.

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Ben told the Telegraph: “I lost all my older crowd completely overnight when everything had to go to ‘table service only’ during Covid. I haven’t seen them since. For years I had an older crowd in here, looked after them, had private events for them and things like that, so that’s not the angle I’m trying to go for here.

“This is more helpful for our staff, that’s why I’m offering it. I’ve found that not having to be constantly serving people is way better for my mental health. Bar work can be really mentally tiring. This takes the stress away rather than having to constantly interact with different people for eight hours straight.”

During the pandemic, pubs, cafes and restaurants faced strict rules about how many people were permitted to sit inside at any one time and how far apart they had to be, even after the various lockdowns had been lifted. Many restaurants and bars took to encouraging customers to order via an app on their mobile phones, rather than coming up to the bar - something already popular with customers at pub-giant Wetherspoons, which had been using an app for table service since 2017.

Defending the measure, the pub owner added that paying from a mobile phone is "perfect" for patrons attending theme-nights and pub-events which might keep customers at their tables. The Coronation has taken to hosting a weekly roleplaying night, complete with Dungeons and Dragons, as well as regular quiz nights and even a pottery session or two.

The Coronation Pub
The Coronation Pub -Credit:PAUL GILLIS / Reach PLC

“For those events, this is perfect. They can carry on making their clay pots or playing their game without being interrupted and simply order from their smartphone and have their drinks brought to them." Ben said. He added that the discount was a motivating factor for some, but many patrons still prefer coming up to the bar.

“The people who are more worried about the discounts are the 19-year-old fine art students, they are the ones who really appreciate it. Or the young professionals who are pushing it a bit having a night out in the midweek."