Monday, July 27, 2009

Cerberus Bars the Gateway to Hades

As a dedicated drinker of the amber nectar (and no I don't mean Foster's), I love going to the pub. It doesn't matter whether I am going to a place like the Flying Saucer in order to try something new, or just hanging out with friends, drinking the best of whatever is available on tap, the pub is a place I love to go. So when I find a really good pub then I like to let people know about it through this blog. Of course there are different pubs for different moods, to see what I mean have a look at a week's worth of posts I wrote about my favourite pubs in Prague.

Saturday night was Mrs Velkyal's high school reunion and so after the 3 hours of the official get together thing, a group of us agreed to meet up at a particular pub to continue the drinking. The pub in question was the Pour House, located in Columbia's Five Points area, which is I believe student central. Now, I would love to be able to tell you that they had a great selection of beer, that the atmosphere was excellent and the choice of music simply superb. I would love to, but I can't.

I can't tell you any of those things, because I simply don't know what beer they had available, whether the atmosphere was jumping or even what the music was. Why not? Because the door man wouldn't let me in.

According to the door man, this 6'4" bloke, wearing khaki linen trousers, a black silk shirt and a nice new pair of shoes (and the guys in Prague who know me best will understand that they are a major change from my DMS boots I usually wore), walking hand in hand with his wife, wedding rings glinting under the streetlights, was not to be admitted to the pub, the entrance to which he guarded like Cerberus. Was Velkyal too pished to gain entry to his zythophilic Hades? Nope, bottled beer here is generally of the 330ml kind, and so 5 or 6 Samuel Adams Boston Lagers is just about 3 pints. Perhaps Velkyal looked big, scary and mean, oh wait, sorry talking about me here, yes I am big but I don't do scary and mean very well and would no doubt having a giggling fit if I tried. The reason for Cerberus not allowing me into the domain he guards so jealously was that the sleeves on my shirt were "too long", and that it was "company policy" not to allow people with shirt sleeves that are "too long" into said bar. Here is a picture of my overly long sleeves.

Such great length are they not? Stretching like the mighty Euphrates, all the way to my elbow.

Whilst being stunned into disbelief at such a ridiculous reason for barring my entrance to his honey pot, a couple of the girls from the group we were meeting there came out and were likewise stunned into disbelief at this ridiculous scene unfolding. My good lady wife and I decided that we would simply go next door and have a drink there, and so the rest of the group upped and left the Pour House, owned from what I believe by a couple of guys who graduated with Mrs Velkyal and the group we were with, and we all went next door, to a pub whose name I can't recall. There was a trace of irony in that 3 of the guys were wearing full length sleeves on their shirts, veritable Ganges running all the way to the wrist. Surely also "too long"?. If you look at this picture from the pub's own website, you will again see longer sleeves than those which so offended Cerberus. It is also quite interesting to look at their picture galleries and see the length of shirt sleeves on display, and yet their website has no mention of a "company policy" for how patrons should dress.

Thankfully the mindless yapping of little Cerberus didn't put a dent in our evening and I was happy to meet some of the very nice people that Mrs V went to school with.


  1. A pub with a bouncer? what sort of pub is that? Certainly, not the kind I would love to go.

    Anyway, my bet is that you looked way too civilized for the "pub", but the bag of tools at the door was not able to utter such a long word, shirt, sleeves, too, long are all monosyllables, something Mr. Mouthbreather can handle without problem.

  2. That is the most bizarre reason I've heard for not letting someone into a bar.

    I can't even come up with a good excuse for why that rule might exist.

    If it makes you feel any better, one time Grant (UK friend you met in Prague) was visiting me in Texas and we tried to go to a certain bar. They would not let him in because he didn't have a Texas-issued ID. Nevermind the fact that he had his UK PASSPORT! No no no... the stupid pub wanted something issued by the state of Texas.

    This country is really, really frustrating some times.

  3. Last time I tried to enter a place with bouncers they would not let me in for wearing slippers. A possibly fair judgement on an overly trendy pair of slip ons. These days if a bar has bouncers, I question why it would need bouncers. It must be rough, so I steer clear.

  4. I have a kind of opposite problem. I often gravitate to the front door of pubs because I find the interiors too hot. If I wear anything black people tend to the I'm the bouncer. I've often been asked if I'm a copper too. I've even had off-duty coppers strike up conversation with me because think I'm one of them.

  5. I do not think the problem here is pubs with bouncers, in the US many of them do as they take their under-age drinking very seriously and often check everyone's ID no matter if you look 50 or more.
    However clearly Cerberus was a moron and probably saw a big lad come towards him and decided to show all the ladies who is boss, after all you do look like a bit of a softie so he had nothing to worry about :D

    That said, his muppetry has left me stunned.

  6. well, Cerberus aside (not to needlessly cast aspersions upon the magnificent beast...), you COULD have a word with MrsVA's old classmates, and let them know that their guard dog is barring decent custom.

    also noticed your cellar is now short some New Belgium... what'd you think? Any write-up to look forward to?

    Miss you in Prague mate.

  7. Mark,

    I thought they were excellent, particularly the 1554, however I didn't take any notes. I will do a write up about them next time I get some.


    I have been on the end of many a carding for being under age, and it doesn't really bother me that much now. When we were here a couple of years ago though it infuriated me and I was known to mutter on about civil liberties and the reversal of justice with everyone being assumed guilty unless otherwise proven.

  8. "the rest of the group upped and left the Pour House, owned from what I believe by a couple of guys who graduated with Mrs Velkyal and the group we were with"

    The baffling incident seems compounded here. I understand you didn't want to make a fuss, but couldn't a quiet word have been sent to your wife's former colleagues to sort this one out? An unsatisfactory answer would have given proper cause for grievance rather than just the way a daft doorman acted. I know - easy to say - I wasn't there and I'm sure the satisfaction you got in emptying out the Pour House was mighty. Mightier if they knew about it though.

  9. All of this is very interesting, vague and obviously ridiculous. As the owner of Pour House I take a lot of pride in how well our security is trained in weeding out the problem makers. We do this through the use of a very strict dress code. The basis of which are that people wear clothes that fit them, something respectable (no sweatpants or athletic wear etc.) and so on. Sometimes we turn away decent people who dress like they borrowed there parents oversized clothes, of which I'm sure you are one. The upside of Pour House is that all of the customers who DO make it inside are thankful that they aren't surrounded by people dressed like clowns who could potentially be carrying weapons... oh yes it is a safety issue at any place that serves alchohol. There are some other absurd comments that I noticed here that I will not even bother to comment on. So, I hope this post puts your mind at ease since you were obviously embarrased that you were not admitted into Pour House.

  10. I realise that there could be a safety issue, and I was quite prepared to have the door man do a quick search if he felt the need.

    However, from the way your comment there is worded it would sound as though I was discriminated against purely on the basis of the fact that I need to wear larger shirts due to the fact that I am quite broad across the shoulders and don't feel the necessity to dress like Cristiano Ronaldo.

    I wasn't embarrassed in the slightest at not being given access to the Pour House, I tend not to care so much about the place I drink in as much as the people I am with - all of whom found the episode highly comedic.

    I would though suggest that your strict dress code be clearly posted on either your website, or at the door of the pub so as to avoid these kind of issues in the future.

  11. That's quite funny; it reminds me of the "face control" procedure used by Russian club bouncers that should allow only female models and male millionaires/mobsters in... If Mr. Velkyal is a clown (as the guy in the previous comment indirectly, but quite tactlessly states), I want to be a clown too! I raise my glass of Pardubicky Porter: here's to the common sense and all the clowns who changed the world!

  12. I must admit I've had you down as someone who borrows their parent's clothes! Seems fair on reflection.


    That lass in the photo behind you could have concealed a shotgun up her frock. Was she admitted?

    You have to laugh. Next time spray your clothes on.

  13. I think she was one of the girls who left the pub to come with us next door - though I can't be sure, I met many new people that night.

    The only item of parental garb I would want to have is my dad's fob watch, but that can wait a good many years yet.

  14. Actually it was up to the wife that night to conceal the evening's weapon of choice. I was wearing a dress with an empire waist which allowed me to strap the patriot missile to my inner thigh unnoticed!

  15. Why should a pub have a dresscode to begin with? I can, barely, understand it at a posh restaurant. But a pub?

    Must be that I'm from a different culture....

  16. Quite a few pubs in the UK have a dress code, usually along the lines of having a collared shirt, proper trousers instead of jeans and decent shoes. I think it is a question of culture though.

    I think the real issue here is less the dress code and more the fact that said dress code is not clearly stated in writing. Perhaps next time I should turn up in my full Highland regalia and see if they notice the sgian dubh in a my sock!

  17. There are dress codes in many pubs in Dublin. They tend to try and keep the tracksuit and football (soccer) shirt wearing people out but all it does is force said people to wear a shirt and some shoes, they are still the same people they are trying to keep out.

  18. I love how the owner of the pub comes on here and can't even apologize--what an ass.

    I'm going to tell anyone I know who visits Columbia to avoid the Pour House at all costs.

  19. Apparently this is one of the establishments that will not last in Columbia. I can understand PJs or ninja suits or something; but half sleeves? Maybe you should have rolled up your cigarettes in your sleeve. Send these guys to fashion school so they can tell a difference. Maybe they want to measure your inseam next time.


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