Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I’m quite bored by the number of bars that seem on the surface to be avid followers of the ‘grunge approach to hospitality management’. This takes the following form: Not beign ready for customers at your advertised opening times. Rubbing sleep from your eyes when said customers try to order. Sweeping the floor around your feet. Having last nights dirty glassware on display on the bartop. Not having any of your preparation (menus napkins chairs etc) ready for incoming customers. Looking like you've slept in your clothes.

Grunge is cool when it is a fashion statement, when it challenges previously established views which have become flabby and dull. Views that have started to drown in their own sickly niceness. It’s a breath of fresh air, an un-ironed revolt, a faded-denim slap in the face, an uncombed, unwashed wake-up call. But like any worthy movement it takes planning, consideration and attention to detail. To quote Banksy, ‘mindless vandalism takes a lot of thought”. What I see here in some of the bars has nothing to do with intelligent anti-fashion and everything to do with laziness and scruffiness. As with many movements before, it has hit the mainstream and been adopted by those who have no clue of the original ideal.

The trick with grunge is that it should be an illusion. It’s a fashion. It’s for looks only. The art is to look like you haven’t taken any care over your appearance…..to appear to disapprove aesthetically with ironing clothes and combing hair………to pretend that you don’t wash or shave every day because you’re just too damn cool.
Sadly I’ve been in to too many bars where the grunge leaks from personal fashion choice to slovenly, badly run business. To paraphrase Shania Twain “ so you think you’re Brad Pitt (in Kalifornia)….that don’t impress me much……unless the service and food/drink are amazing and you make me feel like I am wanted” …a sticky bartop is not cool, it’s just unpleasant…….an un swept floor is a sure sign of the state of the kitchen,……the miserable pout of the waitress who would so obviously much rather still be in bed is the antithesis of hospitality in any context. I would happily welcome any of the grunge puryeyors if only they could show me how their approach has elevated their artform and made things better for the customer. Bah humbug!!!!

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