View Full Version : Is duty free a pub?

sheffield hatter
21-09-2011, 22:10
I've been having a look at Luton with a view to filling the gaps in the photo column, and came across this one, and I'm not entirely sure it should really be classed as a pub.

I know we don't really have a definition, but whenever this subject has come up, people usually mention things like no admission charge, free to walk in off the street and purchase an alcoholic (or non-alcoholic (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/70576/)) beverage. The Est Bar (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/68596/) is airside at Luton Airport (http://eatdrinkandfly.com/index.php/restaurants-bars-and-coffee-shops/airport/luton/), i.e. you not only have to have a passport and a plane ticket, you have to check in your luggage and go through a scanner and possible body search before you get to the part of the airport where the bar is situated. Now, that's a little more complicated than just stepping off the street. I've heard of gagging for a drink before, but I have to confess I've never been that desperate.:p

There are two reviews, both of which make it clear this is not somewhere that you would go for a drink unless you were already intending to board a plane. I suppose there's an argument that anyone anticipating a wait for a plane at Luton Airport might check this website, but I think that's pretty unlikely. And would the bad reviews put them off? I don't think so.

I'm not suggesting it should be deleted because it's awful; I'm not even suggesting it should be deleted because I can't see how I can get a photo of it; I'm suggesting it should be deleted because it doesn't appear to fit the criteria for a pub.

Apologies if this should have been posted in a different forum. Perhaps you could move it to somewhere it will get more responses, because I'd be interested in what other users think about this.


Galore Admin
22-09-2011, 10:07
Moved from this thread http://forums.pubsgalore.co.uk/showthread.php?2202-Luton-Airport.

I think this has been through before, can't remember the threads though, so not linking to them. Not got a strong opinion either way myself, but happy enough for them to be there.

And would the bad reviews put them off?
This has nothing to do with whether we list a pub, if the criteria of the site is to show which pubs you shouldn't be visiting I personally would have nothing to do with it.

Sorry if that seems like an over response, but I cannot emphasize strongly enough that in creating and maintaining this site for me it is about encouraging good pubs rather than trying to get any pub shut down. This isn't to say that regular reviewers haven't earned their right to express their opinion on any pub they visit, they have, but it is the fact they know a good pub that makes their opinion worth reading.

sheffield hatter
22-09-2011, 15:08
I don't think that's an over reaction on your part. I probably didn't express my meaning clearly enough. I simply meant that anyone who's booking a flight and thinking they might have a drink while waiting to board is unlikely to be put off by a bad review in PuG and therefore unlikely to come here in the first place. So although we could be said to be providing a service by making it clear what this bar is like, it's not such a valuable service that we should not consider deleting the entry.

22-09-2011, 16:26
Probably should reply to this thread as myself.

My concern is with presentation, I would prefer the example of "someone is unlikely to buy an air ticket to visit one of these pubs if someone has left a rave review saying you must visit".

To draw a rather overemphasised analogy, 2 very made up and not really overheard quotes:

1) "I was thinking about visiting that pub the Bartons Arms, but then I read a review on Pubs Galore that said it had been completely smashed in recently, sounds like a dodgy place I think I will give that a miss."

2) "I went and visited that Bartons Arms pub after reading a really positive review on Pubs Galore, I was going to give it a miss as I wasn't sure about the area, but I am glad I went now."

I think any of us would rather overhear the second comment over the first, personally I would rather hear the second rather than other suggestions that I have seen (http://forums.pubsgalore.co.uk/showthread.php?4131-Review&p=37021#post37021) (sorry I know that is a little cheap, but it is a poignant example for me). It may come across as politically correct but I would rather have a tagline of "promoting good pubs" than "keeping publicans in line". Through your contributions you have definitely contributed to the former and I can't think of an example of the latter, so it is not intended as a dig, just me firmly staying on message.

I still have no particular preference on the issue of airport pubs, we have had a few members (at least 2) add them so there is clearly a concerted belief of some sort that they should be there, if I am honest it does seem a little odd to me, I will try and track down the thread as I have a real feeling we have been through this before (and it may provide good fodder to fuel a new thread), may just have been me chatting with Dave though.

22-09-2011, 16:29
Personally I don't think we need to be too proscriptive over this. When we say one should be able to walk in off the street without paying a fee to get in for a place to qualify as a pub, I think we are really trying to weed out private members' clubs and the like, rather than airside bars. I realise you have to jump through all the hoops you mentioned to get in an airside bar, but I think their inclusion can be helpful. I guess all of us have travelled abroad by air at some time, and I reckon the inclusion of airside bars might be helpful (and there are loads of them on here) if just to make a comparison between when there are two bars available.

sheffield hatter
22-09-2011, 18:08
I would rather have a tagline of "promoting good pubs" than "keeping publicans in line".

Couldn't agree more, and I believe that is what all regular reviewers here aim for. I know I always look for something positive to say even about places where I've had a less than good experience, and try to be as objective as possible. Clearly the reviews by Steve C (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/userinfo.php?name=Strongers) and Just a quick pint, then I'm off (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/userinfo.php?name=rpadam) (over 3000 reviews between them) are not intended as complaints but objective descriptions of the experience of having a drink airside.

I'm inclined to think that Rex Rattus's point about there being more airside bars than this one is valid, and I'm certainly not suggesting we delete them all unless there's a tsunami of opinion about to hit this thread. I was just struck (tickled, even) by the contrast between members clubs, some of which can be accessed by Camra card carriers, as mentioned in the previous discussions about what constitutes a pub, and the need for passport and baggage check to get into this bar.;)

If the Est Bar stays, is someone going to take its photo?:)

22-09-2011, 20:20
I don't get as hung up as some about the 'walk off the street' thing provided entry requirements are clear. So I'm OK with airside airport bars being included as long as it is made clear that they are airside. From recent experience I know it would be useful to know where bars are, e.g. top of escalator near entrance to gates C, etc. Given the transient nature of these bars and the fact that atmosphere and service is likely to be determined by the time of day I'd probably stick to factual reviews rather than opinions.

22-09-2011, 21:10
Knowing whether there is a decent pub or bar airside is quite useful information for many air travellers. If there isn't, many will choose to get a pint landside before you pass the point of no return at security.

If no airside pubs/bars are listed, then who knows?

If some are listed but not reviewed; again, who knows?

If they are listed and reviewed, then people can make a sensible and informed choice.

There are some airports with perfectly serviceable airside pubs (e.g. the Windmill at Stansted, Red Lion at Gatwick North and Flying Horse at Gatwick South).

Unfortunately, Luton isn't one of them (or certainly wasn't, the last few times I've been there). The previous - and even less enticing - Bridge Bar is long closed and converted into something else, just leaving the Est Bar.

Speaking personally, if I hadn't been to Luton Airport before, I would turn to the most reliable pubs site I am aware of for information as I would like to know what to expect.

Since I have been there (more than once), I've just told it as I found it. If others have a different point of view, why don't they simply add their own review?

23-09-2011, 17:24
From recent experience I know it would be useful to know where bars are, e.g. top of escalator near entrance to gates C, etc.

This is a good point. Often time is at a premium once you've gone through security, and you don't want to waste time trying to find the one decent bar. I'll add directions whenever I visit an airside bar, starting with the Flying Horse at Gatwick South which I should be in on Sunday.

21-10-2011, 15:51
Strangely enough, I found this thread after visiting the aforementioned (and taking a piccy!) as well as its competitor. Not having used Luton Airport before, I DID turn to PuG to see if there was anywhere worth drinking, which I submit proves the value of such listings, m'lud. They could be especially valuable if eg there is a 'Spoons landside but nothing airside or vv, but at very least you know what to expect.

25-10-2011, 09:25
I agree with Pangolin and Rex. I flew over 60 times in the last 12 months from (I think) 15 different airports, so I suspect my viewpoint is slightly different from many other people's, but it is useful to be able to plan your time most effectively. For my part, if I already know there is a decent pint waiting airside after checking in and I know where to look for it, that can save half an hour's searching. Conversely, if there isn't, I head straight for the lounge or have a swift one airside if the time of day is right. So this is PuG feature which I believe does add value, and it's nice to think that our "research" can possibly aid those who travel less often and just want to get that last pint in before they take off.

It's not just UK airports either - I know for instance (from many hours' trial and error) that I can get a decent beer in Munich, Amsterdam or Copenhagen if I go to the right place, while CDG, Detroit and Frankfurt are dead losses (unless someone knows different?).

27-10-2011, 21:09
As one who has reviewed most of the LHR airside bars I would obviously vote to keep them as I agree with all the previous comments about they could one day save a poor sole from drinking land side and then missing their flight due to extravagant security queues, especially at T5, where whoever designed that stupid tray only system should be H, D and Q'd. Makes me embarrased to be an Engineer...