As another reviewer has commented, Its a great shame when standards slip and an establishment no longer comes up to expectations. We have also eaten at the Hop Vine on a number of previous occasions and been more than satisfied with the food and service. Unfortunately, this was far from the case on our last visit, which was on a weekday lunch serving in February. We arrived just after opening at 12.00 prompt, greeted by a rather impolite & hostile young girl quite literally demanding to know if we had booked a table. As we had not, we were ushered to a table in the far corner of an ante-room – Crikey, the place was empty, bar a large 10/12 seater table just inside the entrance door! When I asked why we were expected to sit in solitary confinement when the pub was as good as empty, this was greeted with the response that every single table, except for this isolated table was booked for lunch? As it was to my knowledge that you cannot book a 'specific' table in advance, I challenged this response . and asked why the party that had booked in advance could not be seated here? The waitress did not reply and rather oddly put a menu she was holding up to cover her face to hide her smirky smile – clearly the joke was on us for some peculiar reason.
We refused to sit at this table and asked why we could not sit adjacent to the bar (ie; Table 2?) Again this was resisted with the statement that this particular table was ‘pre-booked’ although it was noted that it and every other table were empty and that you "apparantly" cannot prebook a specific table.. I pushed this point, with a mumbled reply (from behind the menu card) that this and all the other tables were booked between at varying times between 1245 & !300. On receipt of this, we, (myself & my wife) walked over and promptly sat at table 2!! stating if they did not like it then we would discuss it further with the duty manager.
This left a very tense atmosphere and this young girl then left without any apology – rather curiously, another waitress appeared to take our order and it was noted that several other members of staff (including catering staff!) mysteriously appeared at the bar – clearly to have a gawp at the “troublemakers”. We ordered tuna toasted sandwiches which took an absolute age to arrive, and were rather bland to say the least - certainly not up to the usual standard we had previously experienced. We paid and rather releived to leave at 1250pm precisely whereupon it was duly noted that the pub was still only half full at most and at least two couples who had not booked a table, had been asked to wait at the bar as all the tables were booked??
We will not be visiting here again for a loong time to come – the management clearly need to get a grip of (a number of) rude staff and go back to the drawing board over what appears to be an overly complicated table booking system, which is clearly open to (mis)interpretation and appears to be a commen them running among recent reviews.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
March 31, 2013
I have to say were disappointed to receive this review we train all of our staff to a high standard and feel somewhat let down on this occasion. However what the waitress said about being fully booked on this occasion is true and you can reserve a table if you so wish .We do hope you try us again and please make yourself known to us so we can assure you this was a one off.We also can categorically state standards are getting higher not slipping!
Report response as inappropriate
Mike and Julie
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.