Blog: putting carpets before customers

Published on August 15, 2013

By Matt Wright

Last night I had a superb meal at The Finchs Arms, Hambleton, on the edge of Rutland Water. The food was excellent and the service not bad at all. But during the Baked Camembert starter I was possessed by a nagging feeling of irritation. I just didn’t feel at home. The reason? The sign you see, top left, which was positioned pride of place in the entrance.

To me, any pub that tells potential customers that its flooring is more important than their comfort cannot be bestowed with the noble title of ‘pub’. What possible scenario can have taken place to have caused such hatred of mucky footwear? Did a group of hikers jump around in the dining room following a tramp through a bog? Did a walker spontaneously break into River Dance after tramping through a ploughed Rutland field?

Either way, you can still clean your floors after they’ve left and paid the bill.

Another otherwise lovely venue that serves good food – The Devonshire Arms at Beeley, Derbyshire – displayed the following sign last time I visited: “We love walkers but also love our carpets – please remove your boots.” They also decline to let dogs in (neither does the Finch’s). I had my terrier with me at the time and was also wearing boots during a damp walk, so every time I went inside the pub I had to remove boots, enter, order, exit and put boots back on. This was repeated a few times before I got bored and tramped off towards Chatsworth.

A pub’s basic role is to be welcoming to weary travellers. Muddy boots and all.

Matt Wright
The author:

Matt lives in Leicestershire with his wife, two kids and dog. He is passionate about British pubs, slow food and home brewing. He founded Great Food Club (originally as Great Food Magazine) in 2010 after being inspired by local producers near his home town of Melton Mowbray - Britain's 'Rural Capital of Food'.