Operator hits back at ‘unreasonable’ one-star review

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Standing up: the pub defended its staff on TripAdvisor after a customer criticised them (image credit: Jaggery)
Standing up: the pub defended its staff on TripAdvisor after a customer criticised them (image credit: Jaggery)
A licensee has lambasted a one-star review on TripAdvisor where a customer threatened to arrest bar staff who wouldn’t serve her.

Chloe A posted the review on the Hobgoblin in Bristol’s TripAdvisor page four days ago and the owner replied with his account of what happened.

The review from Chloe A, which the pub also shared on its Facebook page, said: “The staff took a disliking to us the second we walked in. We are a group of five who they haven’t seen since uni[versity].

“They told us we were too drunk despite not having any alcohol before entering the establishment. This pub clearly has an issue with happy people.”

The Facebook post, which was titled “Don’t be like Chloe”, was shared more than 1,000 times, generated 570 comments and 3,400 reactions.

The pub replied on TripAdvisor, explaining its take on things and how the customer behaved aggressively towards staff.

Aggressive demand

It said: “Hi Chloe. How’s the head this morning? I’d be surprised if you can actually remember your behaviour last night, just in case it’s a little foggy, let’s have a recap shall we?

“Although you were initially served a round of drinks, after you stumbled away from the bar and barged into another customer, dropping your drinks on the floor, we began to realise you weren’t *entirely* sober.

“This assessment was further strengthened when you returned to the bar, aggressively demanding your spilt drinks be replaced for free. You were refused.

“At this point you began threatening a member of bar staff. You claimed to be a police officer and said you could arrest the member of staff (bizarrely for failing to ID you – we operate a Challenge 25 policy”, which let’s face it, doesn’t apply to you).

“You threatened to return the following day with senior officers to pursue this further and suggested we were infringing your human rights.”

The response went on to highlight how it impacted members of staff and customers as well as how the owner and team decided not to serve her.

Inappropriate behaviour

It said: “In the cold light of this morning, these were rather obviously the angry ravings of someone well in their cups but, as funny as it sounds now, you were extremely aggressive and intimidating at the time.

“A number of other customers commented that your behaviour was inappropriate and you reduced one member of bar staff to tears.

“Once we had discussed what had happened, we decided that frankly, it would be best if you all moved on and we informed you we wouldn’t be serving you any further.

“Instead of leaving quietly with your friends, you continued to remonstrate aggressively with my assistant manager threatening all manner of consequences, demanding he hand over the full names of the staff who had refused to serve you so you could sue them for breaching your human rights."

The reply continued with advice on how Chloe can make it up to the pub and its staff and backed the team members too.

It added: “So the thing is Chloe, if what you say is true and you really weren’t drunk when you arrived, then what you are asking us to accept is these are the actions of you as a sober person.

“I’m really not sure that paints you in a particularly flattering light either way and I am completely comfortable with how you were dealt with last night.

“As for where we go from here, I’ll leave that up to you. I’d suggest contrition and a heartfelt apology as a bare minimum requirement to you being served here again (a decision that I’m leaving up to the targets of your unpleasantness) but you are, of course, free to seek to enforce your *ahem* human rights in the courts if you are so determined. James.”

Owner James Ayliffe told Bristol Live​ he wanted to set the record straight and support his staff. He added that the pub doesn’t get many one-star reviews and while he didn’t want to make a big deal about it, he felt he couldn’t leave it unanswered.

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