1. Margaret
    December 27, 2015 @ 5:11 pm

    Chris, I totally agree with you , customer service and a good welcome for customers is imperative for lip service to bring folk back in again. I am born and bred from Ruthin and we have lost enough establishments.


  2. Dilwyn Jones
    December 27, 2015 @ 5:44 pm

    Chris – not sure this really excuses anything and I do not really know the landlord or go to The Drovers but I did know his mother who was a wonderful lady and she died just before Christmas so it might be that he was feeling a bit low and not himself at this time.


  3. Mr C
    December 27, 2015 @ 5:57 pm

    I am not a resident of Rhewl, but have lived in the Vale my entire life. I agree that you have had a poor experience but it is simply that – one poor experience. Before sticking the boot into a successful local business (and as you have pointed out local pubs are closing at an alarming rate – as the drovers still seems to thrive it kind of refutes the premise of your article) maybe you should garner some local opinion to put your experience in some kind of context. It’s opinion-based articles like this that annoy so many and mean social media will soon overtake traditional media as the news of choice


  4. Robert Strang
    December 27, 2015 @ 10:41 pm

    Dear Mr Birchall I read your above comments in total disbelief as I do remember you from Saturday Afternoon. You and your partner arrived at 2.45pm and were served with a pint of Guinness and a Coke and it was explained that we were closing at 3pm.At 2.50pm a local came in and was served a pint of bitter and I explained we were closing at 3pm and quietly explained why, as he said he had booked a taxi from here at 3.30pm hence when his wife then came they did not buy another drink as they live next door. Tim then came in at 3.05pm at which point I did apologise and explained that we were now closed. . At this point you were still sat with 1/2 a pint of Guinness so therefore were in total disregard or respect of the hours we keep. You are correct I was turning the window lights out as I had to leave as soon as people had left. It is not our policy to push people by shouting drink up at them however with the lack of respect that is shown for the hours we work maybe we will have to. You see when you write something like this it is written without understanding or any regard for the people who work so hard to provide you with a service. So here is some understanding. For 14 years We have worked 7 days a week for 50 weeks of the year, every bank holiday, every Xmas, every New Year and Every Easter. In the last 8 years I have seen 8 pubs close for good in this area and 25 landlords come and go who could not make the business work. So there is a lot of customer care provided at the drovers or we would not be here especially having been through the recession. However you have decided to write a damning review from one unusual afternoon visit.
    Our normal working week is approx. 80 hours of which we might grab 1sometimes 2 hours to ourselves a day. So yes our time is very precious to us however on this occasion it was an emergency of which I would normally of kept to myself rather than bring it to the attention of customers. My Mothers funeral was just before Xmas and we had a phone call at 2.20pm to say that the roof was damaged on my mothers bungalow and the ceiling had collapsed into a bedroom and the items in there needed to be rescued. So on another occasion yes we might of stayed open but we do have a personal life of which it seems does not matter to you or for you to even consider. On top of that we had a party arriving at 4,15pm for a meal. As we did not have cover, we then had 45 mins to get there and back , all smiling and prepped ready to welcome them and then close at midnight, another 14 hour day of which that doesn’t matter to you.
    On at least 2 occasions we have opened on our only half day off, to provide a funeral tea for your family and gone above and beyond to accommodate your families requirements. But that does not seem to be taken into account when writing the above.
    Robert Strang MHCIMA Landlord


    • Chris Birchall
      December 28, 2015 @ 11:52 am

      Wow! Well, where do I begin…?

      Perhaps the first thing I should say is that I am genuinely sorry to hear of your loss. I have been through it myself and it is not an easy thing to cope with – at any time of year. Had I known this, maybe I would have put the reason for your attitude down to that, and maybe I wouldn’t have written the piece. Maybe.

      In the event, however, I would have been wrong not to write it. Because if that really was the reason, your response here would have surely been more apologetic. Something more along the lines of: I’m sorry if I was abrupt, I’ve been going through a lot recently… or I’m sorry we rushed you, we had an emergency situation to attend to…

      But no. Instead, you have chosen to lecture me on the pressures of running a pub and accuse me of acting – and I quote: “in total disregard or respect of the hours we keep” because at 3.05pm I was “still sat with 1/2 a pint of Guinness”.

      Woah! 3.05pm! Even before the abolition of standard permitted hours in the 2003 Licensing Act, a 20 minute “drinking-up time” was incorporated and is the accepted norm. Never ever have I encountered an establishment that would serve a customer twelve minutes prior to closing time and then switch the lights off and bark “finish up now” five minutes after!

      You say it is not your policy to “push people by shouting drink up at them” and then go on to say that “however with the lack of respect that is shown for the hours we work maybe we will have to.

      Well best of luck with that one. I’m sure it will do wonders for your business!

      For what it’s worth, I do know all about the long hours and the 7-day weeks and bank holiday opening. My dear late Mum and Dad ran the very same pub for 26 years. They worked the long hard hours and they made sure they had sufficient cover not to run themselves ragged. And they did it all with a smile and a courteous manner without ever being rude and disrespectful to the customers who provided them with their livelihood.

      In conclusion:

      I am pleased you have managed to keep the Drovers thriving for 14 years and through the recession. Genuinely so. It was sad watching the pub change hands so often prior to your tenancy. But please, Robert, for your own sake, don’t wreck all that good work and long hours by treating customers in the manner that we experienced this Boxing Day.


  5. Tim Baker
    January 3, 2016 @ 5:30 pm

    The report on the manner in which I was refused service at around 3pm on Boxing Day are inaccurate. I was greeted in a warm and friendly manner by the Landlord, Rob, who politely informed me that the pub had closed. I was not offended by his manner or that fact in any way. I know this pub to be a friendly and welcoming establishment and have never had cause for complaint on any level.

    Tim Baker


    • Chris Birchall
      January 7, 2016 @ 12:43 pm

      That’s not quite the manner in which I heard it, Tim, but I accept that as a regular customer, you are used to his ways and as such were possibly not offended. The manner in which he treated us, however, is not in any dispute – by his own admission in his comment on this page.


  6. Colin Masterson
    January 27, 2016 @ 11:58 am

    Having been a pub landlord myself, I am with Chris Birchall on this one. If the landlord had explained the situation in a nice manner I am certain that Chris would have accepted his reasoning, having known Chris for a reasonable length of time. Running a pub is a way of life not a job, if you don’t like the long hours and the occasional upheaval, then get out and let people who actually like people take over, long hours and unexpected hazards are the norm in running a pub, so don’t blame the customer for your own short comings.


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