Pub warns England fans: Turn up late and you'll be turned away
- Credit: Denise Bradley
A Norwich pub landlord is so fed up with no-shows that anyone 15 minutes late for a booked spot for England v Denmark will be turned away.
Customers at The Woolpack will have the short grace period before their spot gets dished out to walk-ins on Wednesday evening.
The no-nonsense stance comes as tables are gold-dust ahead of the second Euro 2020 semi-final, with most city centre venues already full to the rafters.
Even places which usually offer walk-ins have abandoned that commitment after being inundated with emails, phone calls and Facebook messages.
But there are some which are reserving spaces exclusively for walk-ins - and others which will be taking a stern stance if customers turn up late to the big game.
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Some pubs that are allowing walk-ins preferred not to be identified for fear of being swamped with fans. Others were happy to spread the word.
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Phil Cutter, landlord of the Murderers on Timberhill, said his pub had been walk-ins only since the start of the tournament and would remain that way.
He said: "We do it on a first-come-first served basis because in the past we have found people sometimes will book tables for 6pm and not show up until seven, for example, and that's a table we miss out on for that hour.
"On Saturday we actually had two women come in at midday to make sure they got their seat and made a day of it - they lunch, then teas and coffees and were still there when the game started at eight."
Another member of staff said he recommended fans get there at least two-three hours before.
He said: "We were full four to five hours before the game on Saturday. It was absolutely rammed.
"It'll be quieter on Wednesday because it's a weekday, but we'd still advise you getting here early if you want a seat — probably about three hours before kick-off."
The Woolpack Inn
Ian Judge, manager at The Woolpack Inn on Golden Ball Street, said a handful of tables at his pub would be cordoned off for walk-ins come Wednesday.
"Admittedly, the tables we're keeping for walk-ins don't have the best view of the TV," he said.
"But we recommend people call us up in the morning on the day itself because we've been having a lot of cancellations.
"We've found people are booking a bunch of places, picking their fancy then forgetting to cancel their slots at all the other ones.
"We've been ringing people to check if they still want to come and they're saying: "Oh, no, sorry, we've got somewhere else now."
Mr Judge added: "If people show up 15 or so minutes late we will also be opening that table to walk-ins, so it's definitely worth giving us a call or coming along to check."
The Pig and Whistle
Simone Knight, manager at the All Saints Green pub, said her pub would be "acting like a pub" on Wednesday.
"We're not a restaurant, so why should we do bookings? All our tables will be for walk-ins only", she said. "You would never have booked a table at a pub in the past and we don't want to start doing that now. We want our pub to stay a pub.
"It's always worked for us and we've had no problems with it. In fact, it works better this way - people show up earlier and they buy more drinks.
"On Saturday, people showed up about four hours early. It was great.
"We're hoping to get a TV put in our upstairs outdoor seating area soon so we have even more capacity."