Manchester Evening News reported a memo that had been sent to staff across the Samuel Smith pub estate from owner Humphrey Smith to managers across the company’s estate on 25 March.
The memo said: “The brewery’s policy is not to allow customers to use mobile phones, laptops or similar inside our pubs.
“If a customer receives a call then he or she should go outside to take it in the same way as is required with smoking.”
It added: “Whether outside or inside, tablets and iPads must be prohibited. Customers must not be allowed to receive transmitted pictures of sport or download music apps on the brewery’s premises either inside or outside.
“The brewery’s policy is that our pubs are for social conversation person to person.”
However, Samuel Smith isn’t the first business to ban mobile phones inside venues – the Gin Tub in Hove, East Sussex, had a Faraday cage installed in its ceiling to block mobile phone signals, meaning customers must go outside to make a call.
The Faraday cage is a metal screen used to block electric fields, so customers are unable to use their phones inside the bar and have to go outside to make a call or text.
Steve Tyler of the Gin Tub told The Morning Advertiser: “We could put the smoking area with the mobile phone area so the addicts can be in there together.
“We have put a cage in our suspended ceiling so the signal can’t get in because we wanted people to sit and talk to those they are with rather than be on their phones. I think it will catch on.”
Tyler added the issue is wider than people just making phone calls: “It is social media that is the problem – checking Facebook, replying to emails, and all the other things you shouldn’t be doing. We are trying to create a situation where people can’t sit with their phones, they have to talk to each other.
“When you go out socially you don’t need social media, it is a hindrance. The art of chatting up has gone thanks to dating websites.”