Is it reasonable for a pub to charge for a glass of water? We’re not talking craft water, drawn from the bowels of a private spring by toiling artisans, but the ordinary stuff. Corporation pop as we called it in my day. The question has risen after Nick Molyneux, a CAMRA member, complained about one of his friends being charged 50p for a glass at the John Thompson Inn in Ingleby. Despite his group buying eight pints of beer, five glasses of wine and eight bags of crisps, the designated driver was still charged for his water.Mr Molyneux said: “We’d travelled from Nottingham and had spent around £50 on drinks and crisps. The driver was dehydrated and was very unhappy to be told to pay. “We asked for a receipt so we could make the complaint. I went back, offered him the chance to pay my friend the money back and that would be the end of it. But he didn’t. I do not think it’s right. They should bend over backwards to get people in the pub. They are also a country pub, so there are bound to be a lot of people driving.”
The pub’s co-owner, Nick Thompson, defended the charge by saying it was for extras of ice and a fruit garnish. He also said that he was originally unaware that Mr Molyneux’s friend was part of a larger group of visitors who arrived later. Of course pubs are businesses that are free to determine their own charges but perhaps with the current state of the trade, they should look at the bigger picture. A 50p charge won’t buy much goodwill and may well put off prospective customers.