In a world of bad hombres, smart cookies and Jeremy Corbyn, opening up a newspaper could leave you in dire need or a strong and stable lager*. One such purveyor or lager beers is good old fashioned Tadcaster brewer Sam Smiths who peddle their own branded booze in a range of usually solid pubs. Whilst their previous claim to fame was insisting on a pricing structure which would cause Dianne Abbott to have a nervous breakdown, they’ve graced the headlines recently for an entirely new reason…they’ve banned swearing. And this tenuous segue leads me to the Fitzroy Tavern; because it’s fucking dreadful.
The previous incarnation of this historic drinking hall was admittedly looking a bit dilapidated and I sincerely hope that the carpet has been donated to science*. However; after months of renovation the building men have dissipated to reveal a pub which has certainly been given a facelift; but if Micheal Jacksons face has taught us anything* it’s that facelifts are not always a great idea.
Rather than be an update which celebrates & accents a Victorian heritage, this is instead a limp facsimile which doesn’t even achieve the resplendent gaudiness of original interiors such as the nearby Princes Louise. What we’re left with is devoid of style, charm or warmth; regardless of how much heat the pretend coal fire in the back throws out. It is a lie.
This brings me back to swearing. The use of profanity in conversation has been proven to be common in people who are more consistently honest, it’s proven to make arguments more convincing and sometimes it’s just fucking funny. Robbing a pub of the odd arse or tit serves only to prune a conversation of emphasis and passion because occasionally a story just needs a well-placed bollock. What you end up with in a pub is such stilted and hindered conversation that you might as well be chatting to a vicar about the weather.
Quite who this swearing ban is aiming to please is frankly baffling. There are ‘pubs’ on retail parks with safe zones for ‘children’, crayons proffered with scribble friendly menus and mindlessly chirpy part-time student waiting staff who’s spirits are yet to be crushed by the burden of their student loan* and the realities of life. These are the ‘pubs’ which should be graced by sensitive ears & in which to shelter children with parents who fail to realise that kids ought to be equipped with a good sweary arsenal to deploy on the verbal battlefield of the playground*.
Back at the Fitzroy; it’s been overhauled with wooden panels, mirrors and tiling outside. The attempt to ‘restore’ it even extends to the installation of huge iron lanterns outside which twin well with the gas streetlights of the Charlotte Street Hotel Opposite ; except these ones are ‘lectric. Inside the partitioned rooms are decorated with a few historic tales in frames and cabinets full of old shit; but it is contrived & soulless. In other places a drinks menu with panache might be a saving grace; but you know the story on that front.
Coupling the swear ban with the fact that Sam Smiths pubs play no music and the Fitzroy Tavern suddenly starts to become so crushingly dull it’s a place you’ll want to escape from swiftly. For a chain with little to offer but its eclectic portfolio of premises this feels like a squandered opportunity for a revitalized flagship pub; whilst the profanity embargo is an indirect snub to some of its more loyal drinkers. It is perhaps possible to have fun without booze, music or swearing life is just more fun with them. Twat.
*Fun Fact #1: ’Strong and Stable Leadership’ can be sung to the tune of popular childhood indoctrination chant ‘All Things Bright And Beautiful’. Why not spend an evening with friends working out what the rest of the lyrics could be. This writer suggests that ‘Theresa hates them all’ is a strong and stable substitute for the line ‘The Lord God made them all’.
*Fun Fact #2: For those reading this in the future ‘science’ was something which existed in the time before talking more bollocks, more often than anyone else was established as the best way of deciding what the facts were.
*Fun Fact #3: It has taught us seven things.
*Fun Fact #4: Massive student loans were a strong and stable decision from glistening Etonbot2000 David Cameron.
*Fun Fact #5: ‘Cumtrumpet’ is this year’s ‘top swear’ as voted by the readers of Usborne children’s literature*.
*Fun Fact #6: This is an alternative fact i.e. it’s utter twaddle.