Talking beer: ‘Zero tolerance’ to bar-room swearing presents problems

Tim Bobbin
Tim Bobbin
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Now, I’m sure most of you have used a few swear words in conversion, within the confines of a public house or bar. However, if you are now heard using some choice industrial language in a Samuel Smith’s hostelry it is now likely you are going to be directed towards the exit door.

Okay, Sam Smith’s 200 boozers are generally described as cheap and cheerful. Some, only some, that attract an array of, let’s say, colourful characters, who appear to use the f-word in every other sentence.

So, perhaps this directive has not come as a total surprise to some of the beery brethren who have visited their pubs.

However, what will a ban on foul-mouthed language have on their trade?

I’m sure it will not empty their boozers faster than a stink bomb going off in the bar area, don’t you agree?

In my candid opinion, though, it will present a host of problems in implementing it.

For a start, what is deemed as foul language in one pub, may be acceptable, or indeed ignored, in another.

Okay, constant foul-mouthing in and around the bar is totally unacceptable.

It’s an indelible stain on the pub trade, no argument.

And I’m sure folk reading this will know a few uncouth, x-rated, beery, bleary-eyed brethren.

But surely an occasional swear word, not all, should not be a license to raise the red card aloft.

And is enough to subsequently ban the offender responsible?

Wouldn’t it be more sensible for some prominent and diplomatic signage?

Something along the lines of “persistent foul language is unacceptable in this pub and will result in you being told to vacate the premises”.

It has certainly created a popular topic of discussion since it was implemented.

One Sam Smith’s landlord said: “It was the decision of ‘the owner of the brewery’.”

Another commented: “What is wrong with a swear box on the bar. With the proceeds going to a nominated charity.” Hear, hear!

One most chucklesome and witty comment came via a Facebook friend, who said: “Which denizen of that clan originated this particular piece of whimsy?” A classic line indeed.

On a more serious note, a Colchester pub landlady, Sheena Valentine, summed it up very well, in my opinion.

She said: “Any decent publican or bar staff should be able to moderate the language their customers use, to an appropriately level. For instance ‘what goes’ on a lively Friday night will be different than a quiet Sunday afternoon.

“A blanket ban is just going to get people’s backs up. And, as someone said to me earlier, in relation to this ban. Who decides what constitutes swearing?”

As you probably know, we have two Sam Smith’s pubs in the locality, namely, the Tim Bobbin, in Burnley and the Red Lion, in Colne and I believe there is “no swearing” signage in both destinations.

It’s certainly a prickly and contentious issue which Sam Smith’s has raised.

And although I believe the instruction to be gung-ho it will hopefully result in more respectful and mannerly behaviour from the minority of patrons in and around the bar area.

So, does your local pub, club or bar have a “zero tolerance” policy on profanities being used?

I would be interested to know where they are located as I may need to watch my Ps and Qs in future!