Backlash as boozer’s ‘unhappy hour’ inflates price of pint if bar’s packed out

Punters have been left outraged by news that a major pub chain has introduced a flexible pricing system.

The Coach House, a Stonegate pub in the heart of central London, is a busy, bustling boozer that has introduced a controversial new pricing system. “Dynamic pricing” means that the Leicester Square watering hole increases its prices at busy times in a bid to maximise cash.

The move comes at a time challenging for pubs up and down the country but this particular policy has left some regulars outraged. The four-story, 17th-century inn has been pouring pints for the masses for some time, but now if enough people have worked up a thirst the price will go up.

READ MORE: Unhappy hours as pubs hike prices between 5pm and 7pm – it could cost £7.60 for a pint

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This also applies to when there are sports matches on TV. However, many of the punters there are reported by the Daily Mail to have been unaware that their drink prices could fluctuate.

While many were reported to disagree with the policy they did admit they understood where Stonegate was coming from. Speaking to the outlet financial services salesman Peter Stewart, 34, said: “I think it's a bit of a daft commercial decision, to handle it the way they [Stonegate] did.

“That said, there's not a great selection of pubs around here, so I don't think the dynamic pricing will put me off.” The regular added: “I don't use Slug and Lettuces or any of these pubs, but I didn't know it was at this pub.”

Paul Gubby took the same approach, telling the outlet: “I can understand it, when the theatres and the airlines already do it.” The 58-year-old former farmer added: “But I can't understand it in a pub, to be honest. The price should be the price and that is it.

“They need more staff when they're busy, but that should be covered in the price of the pint.”

He did however admit that punters might often not realise.

"You wouldn't know if they'd upped the price of your beer. That's what annoys me… It might be £6, but it could have been £5.80 two hours before you would have no idea.

He noted that this isn’t an option that would be available to pubs outside of the hustle and bustle of Zone 1 London.

Speaking about his local boozer’s landlord, Mr Gubby added: “He gets about ten people a night. If he gets 20 the next night, is he going to put the prices up because it's busy? I would be annoyed if I paid more for a pint, but I wouldn't know. If you were in here all afternoon and the prices started going up, then you would question it.”

The Daily Star has contacted Stonegate for comment.

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