can a pub/restaurant refuse to serve someone because their friend is tipsy?!

Question: Can a pub/restaurant refuse to serve someone because their friend is tipsy?
I went out last night for my 22nd birthday, and was having a drink with some friends in the local Wetherspoons bar. We wasnt being loud or anything but three hours later, two of the bar staff decided to stop serving my group as they believed one of them was drunk (which he wasnt). I tried to reason with the 2 girl bar staff and got nothing but abuse and swearing in return so asked for the manager but was refused by the girls. I asked for the managers name and they said 'they weren't obligated to tell me'. They got the bouncers over then and was made to leave and had to leave a full pitcher which I just bought and my friend had to leave a full bottle of wine. This was unprovoked as we really didn't do anything and ruined my birthday as I had to reorganise everything as I had more friends meeting me in that pub. I would like to know were the law stands on what they did.


Poor you! What a miserable end to your birthday! I am afraid everyone is quite right though... A licensee or his/her staff are entitled to refuse to serve anyone they want and they do not (legally) need to explain why either. That does not excuse their discourteous or abusive behaviour and they should certainly have given you the name of the manager, even if it was only to show willing on their side. I am not sure why someone would have to leave a full bottle of wine behind. Surely they could have taken it out with them?

If you cannot put this down to experience and simply move on without undertaking something, why not phone this Witherspoons and request an interview with the manager. Explain what happened and how upsetting you found the whole episode and see if s/he suggests a bottle of wine or a similar "compensation" as a good will gesture. Remember, you are still a customer and will have the option to permanently withdraw your custom in the future.

You may also have a quiet word with the friend who was the cause of the problem... If the staff thought he was drunk, there was a reason for that. Whereas he may have thought it a joke to wind them up, it ended up being far from amusing for you and your other friends. Bar staff are legally obliged to refuse customers they believe to be drunk or under the influence of drugs, otherwise they risk losing their licence. When their jobs are on the line it is understandable they may be too cautious and over-react. Who knows, if they have bouncers at hand, there may be a local problem you walked into unawares? Almost looks like they were expecting trouble!

Maybe you could have a girly night in with pizza and a bottle of wine for your 23rd?

Not only are they able to refuse to serve your group, the licencing laws of england and wales require a licensee or his appointed person to refuse to serve any one who appears drunk.It's the law. The staff may have been over zealous so if i were you i would write a gentle letter of complaint to whether spoons and see if they send you some vouchers to use in another of their pubs,but don't ask for the vouchers.

It's the law that the waiters can't serve you if they feel you've had enough. The establishment could lose it's license and if you rap your car around someone on the way home the owner and the waiters could be sued and be paying for the rest of their lives. It looks like to me, you guys were drunk, obnoxious and argumentative. So, you got tossed out.

son owns restaurant.

They do not have to serve you or your friends, it is private property not public property. Just go out and redo it, but drink less.

yes they can if they believe that person is giving the drink to the person they have refused to served , or they just want him out of the pub

Well if they thought they were too drunk then they don't have too but normally they have to.

Yes they can refuse, they own the place, their rules. Just go barhoppin lol

law stands on their side here

they can refuse to serve anyone
they do not need to serve you, nor give a reason either

not worth pursuing i'm afraid

yes they can refuse anyone ..its private property

Yes they can refuse they do not have to give a reason . They would be breaking the law if they allowed you to drink when in there minds you or some one in your group had had enough.When I was the other side of the jump a little word was better than going in with all guns blazing .What was a favourite thing was to say you go home now and come back tomorrow and I'll buy you your first drink most times they had forgotten in the morning. But it is best for the party concerned the other customers and the staff if it can be handled in a polite way.

The consumer Foods information on is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions.
The answer content post by the user, if contains the copyright content please contact us, we will immediately remove it.
Copyright © 2007 FoodAQ - Terms of Use - Contact us - Privacy Policy

Food's Q&A Resources