The problem with that Talisker promotion

Bacchus fail

I was telling some friends about the Talisker promotion (as you do) and we were meeting in town anyway, so we went down to Bacchus Bar, which is where Clutch and I got our lovely glasses from last night.

I asked the woman behind the bar for two Taliskers, and she served them in the weeble-glasses.

“Oh – these are the glasses you get free as part of the promotion,” I said to Jon. “They’re pretty cool aren’t they? I didn’t realise they were serving in them as well.”

The manager approaches.

“We’re not giving any glasses away. I’m not aware of any promotion.”

I explain the promotion to him, and tell him that the single reason we’ve come into his bar is because it’s one of the three named bars in Birmingham that is involved – and the only one of those three I know how to find without consulting a map.

I certainly don’t go there for the ambience. The place has an Ancient Greek room, an Ancient Egyptian room, and what appears to be a faux Victorian library. Classy. And I don’t go there for the convenience either. It’s in an underground bunker, impervious to wireless signals and cellphone connections.

But I did go there to have a Talisker, so my friend could try it for the first time, and get a couple of the cool glasses I’d picked up the night before. However, the manager was having none of it.

“No – if our bar was doing a promotion, I’d know about it. Doesn’t matter what any website might say – websites are wrong all the time. I’m the manager here, and there’s no free glass promotion.”

And then I realised – what he’d clearly done was open the presentation boxes, and stock the bar with brand new glassware courtesy of the nice people of Diageo.

We had a bit of a debate about it (false advertising and so forth), but it wasn’t worth it so I let it go, and went and had a nice glass of whisky with my friends.

An hour or so later, as we stood up to leave, the manager approached again. By this time, we’d enjoyed a nice drink and good company, and had more or less forgotten about our little exchange and the fact he’d essentially called me a liar. In fact, we’d wiped him from our minds, and had instead been having a rather nice time. So it was a shame to leave on a re-soured note.

“Oh, that promotion thing…” he said, checking furtively, but rather obviously, to make sure we hadn’t stolen his fancy new glasses on the way out the door, “…I think that’s happening only on Burns’ Night.”

Fine. Whatever. They’re nice glasses, but I’m not going to get into a fight over them no matter how wrong and bad at hospitality he might be. Hopefully the marketing people will let him know what’s going on sooner rather than later, before he accuses too many Talisker enthusiasts of being liars and thieves.

To be fair, the promotion doesn’t quite work the way I thought it did either. We imagined (because the previous night’s barman had clearly thought this too) that it was one drink, one glass. In fact, it’s two drinks, one glass. So we’d done all right – even if tonight’s friends had not.

According to the rules:

To receive a free Rocking Glass you must in a single visit purchase 2 x 25ml (1.1 UK units of alcohol each) or 2 x 35ml (1.6 UK units of alcohol each measures of TALISKER 10 yr Single Malt Scotch Whisky) one for you and one for a friend. The promotion is on between 17th and 25th January 2009. The closing date for this promotion is 31st Jan 2009. Only one entry per person per day.

Only – that doesn’t work at Bacchus – because the manager has decided to hang on to the nice glasses.

If you want the freebies (or, actually, if you just want to drink somewhere that doesn’t resemble the interior design of a Tomb Raider game) avoid Bacchus.

Those other two bars who ARE taking part in the promotion (one assumes) are:
New Inn 71 Summer Row Erdington, B23 6UT
Old Contemptibles 176 Edmund Street B3 2HB

If you’re outside of Birmingham, you can get information about the bars nearest you doing the Talisker promotion on their website (under News).


  1. You should let the company know.

    For future reference pop down to Old Contemptibles, it’s very close to Snow Hill Station, no more than 5 mind walk from Bacchus.

  2. I like Bacchus but for exactly the reasons you cite. It’s kinda like watching Mama Mia. So absurdly bad it’s rather fantastic. But yeah, the service does kinda suck sometimes.

    Old Contemptibles seconded as a top pub. They also do a good line in sausages.

  3. Just been having a look to see where my nearest participating place is and none unfortunately local to me in Newcastle .
    What did make me laugh though was the way they’ve put Lancashire in the North-East section ! Probably the same person who once put “Isle of Islay” as the address on the back of a bottle of Talisker……….

  4. Bacchus is bad, it’s like walking into the house of a designer, who loves all thing kitsch.

    The old contemptibles does great sausages, service can be a tad slow in the weekdays as it’s always packed for lunch!

  5. Bacchus bar manager just came round and personally delivered my weeble glasses and a letter inviting me to have a free dram (two actually) next time I’m passing.

    God bless them!

    (I have no Talisker for them, but a friend gave me some Glenmoranjie the other day – that’ll still work I think!)

  6. I swiped mine from a Wetherspoons in Manchester, I was amazing when I noticed them. In fact its sat next to me wobbling a little with a dram in.

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