Give me ale, reasonable food and quick service or give me death
By Colm Lock
The Union has long been the hallowed ground of uni students everywhere to escape after a hard day’s lectures or a particularly tiring seminar for which you might not necessarily have done all the required reading. All you want at the end of your day is a nice cold pint, or as I prefer, a glass of the sweet elixir that is Doom Bar. Now, I am not saying Doom Bar is the be all and end all of beverages. Other ales are of course available. But it is by far the best. However, the SU bar does not come close to living up to the standards that we should expect from a student bar. It is not great. It’s not THE place for uni students to go. It is merely, very ‘meh’.
My criticism of the mediocrity of another part of the SU may lead some of you to think that I have some colossal problem with anything containing the word union in it. You would be wrong. The Union of England and Scotland is one of my favourite kinds of union; and the Union of Great Britain and Ireland is something I would like to see return as soon as possible.
I only ask for decent services to be provided for a decent price. The SU bar seems to defy the laws of economics. It provides bad food and a poor selection of drinks for wholly unreasonable prices, something that were it operating as a private business in the real world lead to its closure thanks to a slew of bad reviews from Tripadvisor. I was in there just last Monday that and it took them longer to produce a bowl of Denver fries than it has taken me to write this article. The food is quite frankly sub-par at best.
The SU seems to be under the delusion that they should be competing with the likes of Kro Bar across the street or some gastro pub that has decided to stock one too many types of cider. Upon seeing the unnecessary volume of cider, I think even a resident of the West Country would blush. Might I make a helpful suggestion to the SU bar operators? Try diversifying to ale.
Some of you might think it peculiar to harp on about this specific drink but I think it is a cause worth championing. The Campaign for Real Ale will probably be defined as one of this century’s greatest campaigns. As a great man named Marcus Buist once said “It is the historic and inalienable right of every Englishman to have real ale, and it must be preserved.” They currently stock a measly amount of ale to the point that when this writer makes it into the bar around 8 or 9 o’clock, the taps are dry and yours truly is quite disappointed.
There is no Doom. No Trooper. Why is this you ask? Well the bar seems ignore the needs of those who like to partake in the quaffing of this drink on a regular basis. They might say that it would be too expensive and that no one would drink it. Well, it certainly seems to sell well at the Ford Madox Brown, and at not too extortionate a price. It is one of the most popular drinks in the country. It is a drink of kings and commoners alike. Where is the Bishops Finger, Spitfire, Help for Heroes, Hob Goblin, Black Sheep, Pedigree or anything from the Ringwood Brewery or Sharps?
The selection is as endless as a wait for a pizza in the Union. Do they think that we should prefer the sickly sweet sensation of a Kopparberg or the terrible piss water that is Blue Moon. I say to them, give it a trial. Have a broad selection on tap for just a week or two and watch it fly off the shelves. I expect demand is as high for ale in the union as the demand is for Ketamine at Antwerp Mansion.
The bar needs serious reform and we all know this. The food is crap, selection of beer is terrible and the prices are high enough to the point that Marie Antoinette would wince at the expense. Why do we not ask for more? Why do we tolerate such unbelievably dire service? Were it a bar in London, it would have gone out of business long ago and been replaced by a Cereal Café or some other hipster type bar. Let’s have a union we can be proud of; one which serves ale and can get your food to you in less than half an hour.
This will be my last article of the year. I know, my readers, that you will be sad. Possibly even borderline inconsolable. But I say do not fear. Feel free and prepared to dissent from all aspects of the Union and hold these people to account for their copious failings. Follow your spirit, and upon this charge cry god for ale, good food and reasonable pricing.