I'm given to understand that the "professional" bar in the marquee is run by the Plymouth based Treasury Bar. I don't know this for a fact, but it was repeated as such by several members of last night's audience and disgruntled bar customers. If someone from the Treasury bar reads this and wishes to disown the association, please let me know and I'll happily oblige.
Allow me to set the scene. Gigspanner hired the marquee at what I believe to be quite high rates; those rates to include the bar being staffed, equipped and (presumably) stocked.
(photo of bar in marquee for illustration only,
it is not the bar at Mt Edgcumbe)
Our party of seven arrived around 7:15, a smattering of early comers was already in the venue. Mrs The Millbrooker bought us both a bottle of Tribute ale (no hand-pump, but that's not surprising in a venue of this nature).
Before a note had been played from the stage (the band started at around 7:40) - there was no ale left in the place. Sold out. The venue was by no means full - the bar staff were questioned and the response was that the bar had been really busy the last few days.
"The last few days"! Is there no such thing as re-stocking at Mt Edgcumbe? The bar ran out of beer. How farking basic is it for a bar to have beer available to sell? Even at the vastly, arse-clenchingly and unjustifiably inflated price of £3.50 a bottle? Rank incompetence.
To add insult, the ale (that's ALE - not lager) was refrigerated to within an inch of its life. So the minuscule quantity of stock they did hold was incorrectly stored and served at entirely the wrong temperature. In common with the white and rose wines that were left on the counter top and sold at (warm) room temperature. These people are paid for their services and, frankly, their services are not good enough.
I didn't book the venue, I didn't book the bar. But if I had I'd be fighting for a significant reduction in the fee for a slapdash, uncaring and unthinking performance which took some of the shine of what should have been a terrific evening which people paid their hard-earned cash to enjoy.
Shame on the bar at the Mount Edgcumbe House marquee. May I recommend that anyone thinking of hiring the marquee stipulates exactly what they want to be available and demands a penalty clause in the contract - perhaps even telling the house managers that the bar should be run by someone else?
photo of bar in marquee shamelessly nicked from: marqueehireguide.com
(a link to this post has been sent to the Treasury Bar and to Mount Edgcumbe)
A postscript. The day after I posted this article I received an email from David Marshall who works at Mt Edgcumbe, he has kindly allowed me to publsh his response; a response which I consider to be very positive indeed.
"Thank you for your email regarding the Gigspanner event at Mount Edgcumbe.
I have read the Daily(ish) Millbrook blog entry for Saturday February 2nd 2013 which gives me all the detail I require. Your observations are exactly to the point.
In setting up the event with Gigspanner we attempted to gauge the potential public response in terms of attendance on the evening - and were told that previous events on the peninsula had drawn audiences of up to 150 people. To that end our licensed caterer (Estate Catering) were briefed about the event and were given all the information that we had - the type of event, the potential audience numbers, the start time, interval and intended conclusion of the evening. At the meeting they were asked to plan for the possibility of 150 guests - as things turned out we welcomed just over 70 guests.
I can only state that I believe our caterers have let us all down - the venue and the audience alike.
This is the first time that Mount Edgcumbe has had the facility available to be able to host this type of event - admittedly it provided a learning curve for us all - and there are several things we will do differently (or better) in the future.
I thought that Gigspanner was just the type of band and just the type of event that we should be encouraging here at Mount Edgcumbe and I will be looking to engage with the caterers to ensure that we never let down an audience again.
Many thanks for your comments - they will help us to improve the service we offer in the future.
Yours sincerely. . . . . ."