The Horniman at Hays SE1 2HD (Tube: London Bridge)

How long should one expect to wait to receive a pint? This is a question I feel has an array of answers depending upon pub, circumstances and skill…..

  • A packed bar will require patience in abundance, an eye for a soon to be completed transaction and a propensity for a limber wiggle between rivals. Average wait 5-10 minutes.
  • The small serving area requires a similar technique but perhaps you will be served a tad faster if you can perform the ‘over head half wink and wave’ move over the heads of people in front of you. Average wait 3-8 minutes.
  • If the drink dispensing zone is mind bendingly enormous and you’re one of only a few punters who have walked straight to the bar without so much as having brushed elbows with another human you’d expect to be served straight away. Average wait 0-2 minutes.

Different pubs, different rules. The Horniman at Hays, on my handful of trips, should have nestled itself safely into the 0-2 minutes bracket but alas it didn’t and failed in a spectacular style to impress me in almost any other way either. Perched right on the banks of the Thames a short walk from HMS Belfast this should be a marvellous place but it’s just not and despite the view across the glass canyons of the Square Mile I doubt I’ll return.

The issue with the pint acquisition speed stems from staff who seem downtrodden and/or disinterested. Service with a smile isn’t a prerequisite but service with eye contact should be and after waiting half an ice age for someone to ask me what I would like to quaff even a mumbled ‘sorry for the wait’ might have been nice. Upon finally getting a chance to acquire a drink I was disappointingly told that my first two selections were ‘off’(this has happened on every occasion I’ve visited) and I’d have to have a ‘pale ale’ or lager. At least through this ordeal I had the opportunity to catch up on steamy, scintillating and politically correct hospital drama Holby City which was playing on every single ruddy telly in sight.

There are admittedly far less attractive places to drink and I will happily concede that the terrace in summer is rather a treat. However inside feels a bit too much like a Harvester for me and a little too often there is a loutish gang of ‘lads’ getting ‘bladdered’ somewhere on the premises and contributing the odd ‘wahey’ and ‘go on’ or ‘phroaaar’ to the atmosphere. Good old ‘lads’.

And there we are. You’ve probably noticed I didn’t like this pub. What I’m most pleased with though is that I’ve managed to get through almost 500 words without mentioning the stupid name or making and jokes about horny men or pumps. The material writes itself really. I just thought it’d be more important to highlight why you shouldn’t go here rather than make lude jokes. If you want to laugh at wank gags then go and watch a video of over animated human scarecrow Russel Brand.  


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