Pub boss banned soft drinks as ‘his brain isn’t processed to sell pints of coke’

A notorious Belfast bar owner who made waves after refusing to serve a would-be customer a glass of Coca Cola has defended his controversial policy.

Bittles Bar in Belfast city centre, famed for the quality of its Guinness, was the scene of the exchange that took place after a weary traveller dipped in out of the cold for a blast of sugar, or so he thought.

Bar owner John Bittles has, again, defended his actions – telling the Daily Star that he "can't process" why someone would want a pint of Coke anyway.

READ MORE: Landlord bans Coca Cola from his pub as its 'only for drinkers'

He said: "Firstly, it was a pint of Coke. My brain is not processed to sell a pint of Coke, nobody has ever asked me for a pint of Coke.

"It’s just not something we would ever do. It probably threw me a bit, I don’t know, maybe I overreacted but we gave the guy the very last table in the bar and he said ‘a pint of Coke,’ but it wasn’t for me."

The bar, famously, also doesn't sell half pints of Guinness anymore and one look at its TripAdvisor reviews will tell you that John has ruffled some feathers in the past.

But he insists there's a method to his madness, and the bar's reputation tells its own story.

He said on Tuesday (December 20) after the bloke came in on the Friday before: "It was the busiest week of the year, and the busiest year in 32 years, so what we’re doing works.

"By the end of business today, we’ll have sold almost 3,000 pints of Guinness – that’s since the delivery came on Wednesday.

"So people coming in and getting pints of Coke just doesn’t cut it with me. We’re only a small bar, one of the smallest in Belfast.

"We’re refusing over a 100 people a day who are looking in to sit drinking pints of Guinness, never mind pints of Coke."

Mr Bittles added that Coke per se is not the issue, but "making it worth his while" is.

He said: "He was a bit shocked because he has probably never been refused before. I don’t know how many pubs he goes into but he’s obviously never been in here before.

"He said he was meeting a crowd of guys but the table I gave him was for two and we're sitting only. He was a bit taken back and said ‘but I don’t drink,’ and I said ‘neither do I, I don’t drink either’. But I said ‘you can’t sit in here with a pint of Coke’."

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