The Ducie Arms was attacked on TripAdvisor with a ‘terrible’ rating from reviewer gmanefc, who claimed his party was asked to move from its table despite it not being reserved.
Licensee Kevin Bales told The Morning Advertiser the review is "an excellent example of how someone can manipulate TripAdvisor to their own means".
The Ducie Arms, Manchester, has a four-and-a-half star rating on TripAdvisor with 15 ‘excellent’ reviews, two ‘very good’ and only one 'terrible', left by gmanefc.
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The reviewer alleged their group was asked to move by an aggressive member of staff, and painted a damning picture of the venue with claims he and a work colleague feared for their safety.
But the licensee responded with his own, detailed versions of events, claiming he was the victim of a "vitriolic torrent of abuse".
“For the benefit of people who use TripAdvisor as a tool for deciding where to go, I would like to separate the fact from fiction,” Bales said.
Bales explains a table in the pub had another customer's bag on it, which the reviewer's party "threw on the floor".
“Your mate then joined you, and spilled a full pint, all over the table and the seats.
“At this point, I would like you to note, most people I know would have brought the bag to the attention of bar staff. With regards to the spillage, most of our customers would have asked for a cloth, instead you found both situations funny.”
The customers who left their bag on the table were known to the licensee as being from nearby Manchester University, one of which was Chinese man who spoke little English.
“The Chinese lad came back to the table and because of your behaviour so far, I followed him, anticipating that you were going to be awkward. I was correct,” Bales continued.
“When he was attempting to explain that you were sitting at this table and enquiring the whereabouts of the bag, you were pretending not to hear him and/or not understand him. You found the whole situation very amusing. It was at this point that I got involved.”
Bales claimed one of the reviewer's party then became aggressive and intimidating, at which point he was told he would not be served again.
“Here endeth the lesson, please learn from it and try to be a better person,” the licensee concludes.
Bales claims his version of events is backed up by CCTV evidence, which he has forwarded to other pub groups in the area.
See the full review and response here.