When Pitt Cue Co parked up on Southbank last summer, those that worship at the altar of meat (including me) took to it like BBQ sauce to pork. Whispers of a restaurant project started circulating around October 2011 so, when Pitt Cue opened its doors permanently on Newburgh Street in January 2012, much of London was waiting. Amoungst the buzz of positive reviews (of which there were many) came one recurring theme... At Pitt Cue, YOU HAD TO QUEUE. I, being a patient soul, held off my visit until March.
Deciding in a cavalier fashion to make one’s virgin visit on a Saturday evening was, perhaps, not the wisest decision. We waited outside for an hour, less painful than it sounds particularly as the nice host kept coming out to update everyone on wait times. We didn’t even mind the extra time waiting in the diminutive bar (tinier than a living room, bigger than a bathroom), drinking the excellent ‘Cider Sours’ (a boozy combination of whiskey, cider and lemon juice).
The space has been designed cleverly: bar taking up one end, and a window-side counter with stalls for perching and eating at the other. They’ve even found room for a tiny window seat. Above the many heads, multiple light fittings are strategically placed to draw people’s eyes up - presumably to distract them from the fact they’ve become a sardine.
We paid our bill which (after an hour and a half of bar waiting, four Cider Sours and a pickleback shot) was wallet-lockingly high, and were asked by the host to vacate our table. We requested, reasonably we thought, five minutes more to finish our drinks. At which point he who had been the epitome of politeness all evening, rather aggressively replied something along the lines of "no, move". Slightly put out and feeling thoroughly unimportant, we popped outside to finish our drinks and have a cigarette (something which we and many others had been doing all evening). Next thing we knew one of the owners, along with the host, was yelling and demanding we “give back our glasses now!”
Having been looking forward to my visit to Pitt Cue Co enormously, it genuinely upset me that a potentially brilliant night, with genuinely delicious food, had been ruined. Fair enough they need to keep the tables moving, but we’d only asked for five minutes to finish our drinks. Fair enough they might not have a licence for drinks outside, but we didn’t know that. To be treated firstly like cattle (ironic really), then like common criminals is just plain wrong - no matter how much buzz you have, or how many punters you get through the door. The no-booking ‘Tapas’ thing was cute for a while, but when it allows proprietors to treat customers badly, I think it’s gone too far. So Pitt Cue Co, you have officially lost a fan. And the sad thing is... I doubt they even give a shit.
Pitt Cue Co.
1 Newburgh Street