Rules are a necessary part of civilisation as we know it. Rules are why when I cross a zebra crossing I don’t get mown down by a maniac in a Vauxhall. Rules are the reason I get to choose which dribbling moron gets thrown out of the Celebrity Big Brother house. Rules are the reason I’m not wearing a loincloth made out of goat, living in a cave and spending my days running around throwing sharpened sticks at animals to secure something for dinner.
Those places we want to relax and enjoy ourselves however are, or should be, mainly free of rules. Of course there is the unspoken etiquette to abide by which stops random stabbings or public urination but otherwise, none. This brings me to the problem with The Nags Head. Let me list the things we fell afoul of within a few minutes of arriving.
- Chastised for taking a dog into the wrong room, despite it being empty for our entire stay and not being dedicated to food service.
- Asked not to sit at ‘the big table’ which again remained unused for the 40 odd minutes we were there. Two couples who arrived were also waved away from this sacred table.
- Ordered to remove coats from a seat they’d been placed upon in case someone needed to sit there in a manner reminiscent of a camp commandant. You may have detected a theme but there wasn’t exactly a lot of competition for seating and the total humans in the bar never crept above 8 allowing for a table each let alone seats.
- Several signs denote that mobile phones are banned here. Almost understandable if some loud mouth oaf is bellowing into it. However when it’s being used to quietly check a map route it should not attract scowls from the staff.
As a result of us daring to break these rules and having it pointed out to us so obnoxiously by the bar staff we felt unwelcome and uncomfortable. Frankly this is a shame as I wanted very much to like the pub. Its uniquely low bar, not bad beer selection, warm glowing fires and mad cap decor ought to be the focus of my review but they’re not because I was on edge; wondering if I’d be reprimanded for failing to use a beer mat or for my laugh being too loud (it is).
Under different circumstances this could be great and my research suggested I might have expected a pub packed with hearty banter between locals in a hidden little gem awash with curious features. I’ll almost certainly drop by again and will happily eat my words if it’s found to be much changed but something tells me that this won’t be the case.