cricklewood conundrum

There’s a golden rule you should follow if, like me, you’re a wildly unsuccessful blogger. It’s simple: DON’T POST WHEN YOU’RE DRUNK. Not for the first time, I’m going to break that rule.

Tonight was spent at The Crown Hotel, North London’s premier luxury Irish hotel. It’s a lovely place, and on Mondays they hold a quiz. Me and the boy Bowers entered, and won. I’m not sure how, precisely, but our squad of two held off a number of larger teams and romped home (by a single point) in first place. So far, so good.

Prizes were handed out, and we were presented with two bottles of wine, a red and a white from the Broken Rock vineyards in South Africa. Not bad at all.

Except that the posters on the wall advertise something different altogether. The posters on the wall proclaim that the prizes will include “a meal at the King Sitric’s restaurant” (part of the hotel complex) and “champagne” (a sparkling wine produced by inducing the secondary fermentation of wine and named after the Champagne region of France). None of this is mentioned on the night, so I decide to complain via the medium of e-mail. I’m turning into a right pain in the ass.

To whom it may concern,

I just spent a most enjoyable evening in your establishment, which included a testing general knowledge quiz. My friend and I were lucky enough to triumph, and took home a couple of bottles of South African Broken Rock for coming in first.

I have no wish to appear greedy, but all the posters in your bar advertising the event proclaimed that prizes would include “a meal at the King Sitric\’s restaurant” as well as “champagne” and “wine”. I’m curious, therefore, why we only received two bottles of plonk rather than a meal in the no-doubt fine restaurant attached to your hotel.

Curiously yours,


I’ll let you know how it goes.

Update: I got a reply from the bar manager. He said:

First of all, congratulations on winning the quiz, I hope you had an enjoyable evening. I would like to clarify our procedure with prizes distribution with you. On the poster it gives a list of the prizes you could win. For example one week we will give out two bottles of wine and the next will be dinner at the restaurant.

I apologise for any confusion caused and hope to see you at the quiz this Monday.

Well, I don’t believe that clarifies things at all. The poster doesn’t say which prizes are available on which dates, leading me to wonder if the more expensive prizes are ever genuinely on offer or if, as I suspect, they’re holding back on the bigger prizes until the quiz is attracting a larger audience.

So, to the management of the Crown (I doubt they read blogjam, but you never know): I will be drinking in your establishment again. I like your array of fine lagers, your comfortable armchairs and your attractive Australian and Eastern European barmaids. But I shall not be entering your quiz again, until I know precisely what it is that I’m playing for.


  1. Aye, hold em to their word or burn the place down I say!

  2. or damn well get someone sacked… or at least the offer of a sacking. Accept no less!

  3. You sound like my wife, she does this kind of thing all the time – takes offers and prizes to the letter – I WANT WHAT IT SAYS GOD DAMN YOU! – is basically her attitude.

    You give them hell – nice to be a pain sometimes.

  4. That barmaid fancies you. I heard her talking to her mate.

  5. don’t worry about missing out at the lavish ‘King Citric” restaurant. I dined there last night with the good lady, ‘King Terrible more like. The website said 3 courses, 1/2 bottle of wine, £20, sorted. Arrive to find the offer had expired some weeks ago. Never mind, this is not the first case of mistaken offers! We did eat, it was terrible. Waiting for starters, a small, stale tartlet arrived with chef’s compliments, should have has alarm bells then. Pot-roasted lamb arrived drowning in bisto, yes, I can spot it a mile away… time doesn’t allow me to elaborate further. They did you a favour. Oh and talking of golden rules, don’t eat in empty restaurants. We ate with only two other people in the restaurant on a Friday night at 8 o’clock…