oh no it bloody well isn’t. but, seeing as we’re now past bonfire night, it’s probably about time to release this lot of loveliness – yes, it’s the long awaited christmas menu!

for bookings or enquiries, please contact us via e-mail at harlequinpub[@]gmail.com; via text on 07794156916; or by calling in to the pub.

fa la la la laaaaaaaaa :) xxx




have we mentioned that we’re hallowe’ening it up this year?

the lovely people from steel city rhythm will be providing an evening of wonderful reggae/dub/fusion for your entertainment (if you’re not entirely sure what that means, check out some of their music on soundcloud) and there’ll be some fancy dress shenanigans happening. there may even be prizes for fancy dress, if you’re that way inclined! (although obviously, it’s fine to wear your normal clothes too, if you’re not that way inclined at all. we won’t point and laugh at you.)

either way, there’ll be lots of tasty drinks, and it’s free entry as ever. music starts around 9pm.

(and yes, i’m fully aware that i don’t need to spend too much time putting on make-up to look terrifying for hallowe’en, before anybody pipes up … *narrows eyes and looks at one customer in particular* … )



hi, anonymous customer! [2 star rating]

well, i’m calling you anonymous [2 star rating], although i’m fairly certain that i know who you are. you’ve been in here several times before and personally i always quite liked you – you were always polite, friendly, and enthusiastic about the beer and food we offered here; one member of bar staff once said that he thought you were a bit off hand, a bit smug, a bit sarcastic – but we talked it over and agreed that he’d probably just misunderstood something you’d said, or that you were probably a nice guy having a bad day. shit happens. anyway, you’ve been in several times since that incident, so it’s forgotten about.

so imagine my surprise to find that this weekend, you think that our pub is dirty, dingy and unkempt! now as someone who runs a pub, i’m more than used to people telling me what they think. the vast majority say so in person – most of them complimentary but occasionally not. after all, you can’t please everyone, and one person’s heaven is another person’s hell. and you see, when people complain in person (or via e-mail), when you can look them in the eye and talk about things like adults (or when you have a personal connection over e-mail, rather than someone venting their spleen in public), you can usually explain things and agree to make friends and move on, or agree to disagree and move on. but when it’s just an anonymous profile on a screen, it’s difficult to do this. and usually, i ignore them – sure, we all have a good giggle and the self-righteous rantings when the reviews are bad, and we always remember things differently (like the table who ordered the wrong things, then demanded we do them differently, then tipped the salt from the salt cellars all over the table in some kind of pathetic protest, for example, and then claimed that they were badly treated. oh, how we laughed!). but for some reason your review has niggled me. i don’t want to respond on trip advisor (so many reasons not to) but i wanted to respond anyway. ii doubt you’ll see it, but straightforward debate doesn’t seem to be your style anyway.

so let’s have a look at your complaint shall we. firstly, i’m glad you like the beer we serve. exit 33 are an excellent brewery, making some fantastic beers, and we’re proud to have them on the bar, along with a selection of guest beers, lagers, many many ciders, bottles, and many many spirits. you may have noticed that at the top of my review, i’ve given you an overall rating of 2 stars (out of a possible 5) – i should mention in the interests of fairness that the brewer from exit 33 wanted to upgrade you to 5 stars. biased sonofabitch. actually, that’s not fair – i’d probably only have given you a 1 star rating if you hadn’t once commented how much you liked my doc martens, but i’m shallow, so that has counted in your favour. well done :)

apparently you find the pub “dingy” though, due to that “strange decision to put little porch roofs over the front windows”. i’m guessing you’re not a smoker, and i’m also guessing that you don’t catch the bus, so you’re probably not in the market for a place that allows you to stand outside and have your cigarette, or watch for your bus coming to the stop bang opposite the front door, whilst also affording you a bit of shelter from the rain/snow/wind/hail/sunshine? i’m not a smoker either, and i don’t catch the bus, but many of our customers do, so we like to look after them during the very frequent rainstorms we get around here. we even get non-customers who are tired of being battered by the rain at the bus stop across the road, and we’re happy for them to stand under these too. it is fairly grim up north after all. and there is the massive window on the side of the pub that is completely unfettered by weird little porch things, and lets plenty of light in. but never mind that, hey. i guess mentioning that spoils your narrative somewhat, and as every good journalist knows you shouldn’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.

so we do “reasonable” food too? see, i knew you’d been here before, you’ve eaten here loads, and always been very complimentary. in fact i’m fairly certain you ate here twice in one day once. and yet … i notice that you never took to your keyboard on any of those occasions to tell the world what you thought? why ever not? and why did you find it appropriate to do so this time?

ah, here we go. we do indeed stop serving food at 2 o’clock during the week. and if i remember correctly (which i do, because the radio was on in the kitchen playing the archers – god, i bloody love the archers) you turned up some time after 2 o’clock, and were told by a member of staff that the kitchen was closed. i wasn’t actually in the kitchen that day, but i could hear the radio from where i was stood next to the till. so i think you’re a little confused about the time you got here. but heck, i guess you’re human. and i’m glad that you got to try somewhere else where food was served all day, and that that was more to your tastes.

anyway, you slammed the door with its “cracked window pane” (god only knows how bits of glass get broken, hey!) on your way out and then stewed on things before taking to your keyboard. and that’s when things turned nasty. because the last paragraph of your review is complete and utter bollocks. the place is not in anyway dirty or unkempt. i clean the pub myself 3 days a week, and we have a team of cleaners in for the remaining 4 days. the tables are cleaned every single morning; every single time someone leaves a table; and every single night. the window ledges inside are cleaned every day, the toilets are cleaned at least once every day. the floors are mopped at least twice a day, the bar is wiped twice a day, and every single piece of serving and beer dispense equipment is cleaned thoroughly as soon as it needs doing. our lines are clean, our cellar is clean, our kitchen is clean (have i mentioned that the FSA rate us as 5 stars for cleanliness?). and the “dirty sticky brasswork”? i don’t know if you’re familiar with cleaning a bar rail, but let me enlighten you: you clean it, make it all nice and shiny, and then people come in and put their hands on it, they lean on it, and they rest their bags on it. they spill drinks on it. they drop their food on it (those “fat burgers and fat chips at an OK price” that we serve, that you’ve always been happy to eat in the past) and – lo and behold! – it starts to look sticky quite quickly. and given that you turned up after a busy friday dinner, there was plenty of stickyness around. had you come in later that afternoon, you’d have found that the bar would have been all shined and pretty again, ready for the relentless onslaught of friday night revellers and more stickiness! and then we’ll start again the next day.

moving on with your complaint: yes, our staff are a nice bunch, aren’t they?; they’re ace. and i’ll let you into a secret shall i? i value them higher than anything in this business. on the days when i do the kitchen myself and someone walks in after the kitchen in closed, i’ll almost always offer to make something. i’m here all day, after all, so it doesn’t bother me one little bit if i’m still cooking 30 minutes after the kitchen has closed. but would i expect a member of bar staff to serve you when the bar is closed? or would i expect one of our chefs to serve you after our kitchen is closed? would i hell as like. because once the kitchen is closed, the big clean down begins (yes, more cleaning!). by the time you turned up on that fateful friday afternoon, the kitchen was mid-clean down. so say you wanted to order something cooked, that would be an extra 30 minutes added on to someone else’s kitchen shift – those pans that had just been cleaned would have to be dirtied again, then cleaned again; the hob would have to be wiped down again; the sides would have to be wiped down again; the plates would have to be cleaned again – i’m sure you’re getting the picture here, you seem like a bright chap! and then we’d be running late with prep for the evening shift, so someone might not end up getting their break, or they might end up rushing around to try and get everything completed in time, and feeling stressed. you mentioned that you’d been “delayed at work” that day – and boy, that seems to have affected your mood. i wouldn’t want to put my staff in that position. maybe you should have a word with your clients, or your boss, or your colleagues about the pressure they’re putting you under at work? maybe that’s why you were having a bad day. like i say, if i can avoid putting my staff in that position, i will.

anyway, that said, please feel free to ask any of this “good bunch” whether they feel they have been “left adrift” by “slack management”. as wonderful as they are, they do occasionally make such monumental fuck ups that they get shouted at, told off, patronised, and written lists of things to fucking well do sharpish before they get murdered by me in cold blood. but you know what, they’re human. and if they occasionally “spend their time hanging around the bar chatting” then where’s the harm? god forbid, they should be able to relax or enjoy themselves at work; why on earth should bar staff be allowed to chat amongst themselves, or to customers, rather than following everyone around with a cloth and a coaster. i mean, we couldn’t possibly be running a pub for humans instead of an ideal home exhibition stand, could we? i do hope you’re not one of these people who think that those of us who work in hospitality should obey every command, no matter how ridiculous.

so, we must try harder must we? well, at some point in my “slack” week (which averages out at 85 hours work per week – yes, some of that involves hanging around the bar chatting, admittedly – *slaps self on wrist for not being an automaton*) i shall have a look at what else we can do to improve.

thanks for visiting customeradvisor.com! your overall rating is displayed below. you will, of course, be welcome back in the pub at any time you’d like, although you sound like you’ve moved on. if you do come back, i hope you find the same friendly welcome from all the staff (this “slack” landlady will certainly be willing to welcome you back in with a smile). oh, and do mind the front door will you – we keep trying to clean it but people keep sodding walking through it, and putting their hands on it, and sometimes they’re not clean.

lots of love, the slack management

your personalised customeradvisor.com rating from the harlequin:

written communication skills – 1 out of 5 stars

spoken communication skills – 2 out of 5 stars

appreciation of quality beer – 5 out of 5 stars

ability to separate fact from fiction – 0 out of 5 stars


those of you who know the harlequin will know that we just *love* christmas. nothing better than the festive cheeriness and tinsel.

and yes, by popular demand, we will once again be serving christmassy dinners throughout december. however, one of the things that makes christmas so special is NOT THINKING ABOUT IT TOO BLOODY EARLY. i mean, without naming names, there was a bar in town who had a christmas tree up and a christmas menu on display in july. SODDING JULY!

so we’re going to hang on just a little while longer before finalising the menu. we have got plenty of bookings in already, though, so if you do want to book drop us a line. for reference, last year’s menu was £14 for 2 courses, or £18 for 3 courses, and we don’t expect any major changes to the format this year, although some of the starters, the vegetarian option, and some of the puddings may be slightly different. you can have a look at last year’s menu here if it will help. if you have any specific dietary needs, please let us know so that we can plan around them. and of course if you want something more informal we can arrange buffets for you. we’re good like that.

give us a shout if you have any questions, either by: replying to this post; e-mailing harlequinpub[@]gmail.com; texting 07794156916; or phoning 0114 275 8195 [though be warned, the landline is a bit crackly sometimes, so we may spend most of the time shouting HELLO CAN YOU HEAR ME CAN YOU SPEAK UP A LITTLE BIT PLEASE I’LL JUST GO SOMEWHERE QUIETER SORRY]

…wonderful for us because we get to close for a couple of days and catch up on sleep – hurrah! which brings us neatly onto altered opening times for the pub and kitchen over the next few weeks :)

if you’re intending to eat with us during december, we recommend contacting us in advance to check availability of menu and service hours:

friday 12th december – pub open as normal, very limited kitchen service due to pre-booked christmas dinners

saturday 13th december – pub open as normal, kitchen open 12.00-3.00 only

sunday 14th december – pub open as normal, kitchen open 12.30-3.00 for sunday dinners only

monday 15th december – pub and kitchen open as normal

tuesday 16th december – pub open as normal, limited kitchen service

wednesdsay 17th december – pub and kitchen open as normal (and the last quiz of 2014!)

thursday 18th december – pub and kitchen open as normal

friday 19th december – pub and kitchen open as normal, although please note it is mad friday, wearing of body armour recommended : (

saturday 20th december – pub and kitchen open as normal

sunday 21st december – pub open as normal, kitchen open 12-5, no sunday roasts

monday 22nd + tuesday 23rd december – pub open as normal, kitchen open 12.00-6.00

wednesday 24th december (christmas eve) closing early: pub open 12.00-7.00 only; kitchen open 12.00-6.00

christmas day + boxing day – pub closed

saturday 27th december – pub and kitchen open as normal

sunday 28th december – pub open as normal, kitchen open 12.00-6.00, no sunday roasts

monday 29th + tuesday 30th december – pub open as normal, kitchen open 12.00-6.00

wednesday 31st december (new year’s eve) closing early: pub open 12.00-7.00 only; kitchen open 12.00-6.00

thursday 1st january (new year’s day) – pub closed

more bar keeps, please!


do you love quality drinks? want to work for the coolest pub on nursery street? look no further :)

we’re currently recruiting for part-time bar keeps. you’ll be enthusiastic about quality drinks and food, interested in expanding your knowledge and helping customers to choose the right drink for them. we’re not pretending that all our customers are that discerning, but we do like to help guide the ones who are looking for something beyond the “cheapest pint”…

experience of working with real ale will be an advantage but not essential as training will be given. ability (and willingness) to work weekends and evenings is essential, as is attention to detail and cleanliness.

in return we will offer you a good rate of pay, and the chance to join a small team in a friendly* environment.

interested? please send us a copy of your cv (either e-mail to harlequinpub[@]gmail.com or drop a copy into the pub as soon as possible.

*friendliness not actually guaranteed

ho ho ho!

well, halloween and bonfire night are safely out of the way now. soooooo…


here’s christmas!

please see below our all new and shiny christmas menu. christmas dinners are available for pre-orders only (minimum of 72 hours notice please) for groups of any size. or on your own, if you prefer (bah, humbug). if you’re feeling adventurous and fancy trying our 6 (6!!!!) course food and drink pairing menu, you’ll need a group of 6 people or more – again, minimum of 72 hours notice required.

ummm…if you have any specific dietary requirements beyond meat eater or vegetarian, please let us know and we can advise you about allergies, or alternative dishes to suit.

please be aware that some days are already booked up during december, so the sooner you can let us know the better; and if you want to eat during december but from the regular menu, again, we recommend booking with us as soon as possible as we may only be able to offer a limited menu on some days.

any more questions, give us a shout :) usual contact details (e-mail: harlequinpub[@]gmail.com; phone 0114 275 8195; or text 0779 415 6916)




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