Madonna's pub in price row

Claims that Madonna and Guy Ritchie s pub The Punchbowl is guilty of setting irregular beer prices have been angrily denied. Manager Andrew Fay said allegations made last week that the pub had been increasing prices on an ad hoc basis were completely untr

Claims that Madonna and Guy Ritchie's pub The Punchbowl is guilty of setting irregular beer prices have been angrily denied.

Manager Andrew Fay said allegations made last week that the pub had been increasing prices on an ad hoc basis were completely untrue.

He admitted that the pub, in Mayfair, has increased beer prices from £3.50 to £3.90 but rejected all accusations of bad practice.

"We raised our prices a few weeks ago and one customer was not happy," he said.


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"We know who that customer is because he used to come in all the time and now we never see him."

He added: "It was just a stupid little story that wasn't true.

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"The price list was always in the menu and now we've put it above the bar."

But Westminster Council has not been so quick to dismiss the allegations and now plans to launch an investigation.

Sue Jones, head of trading standards at Westminster, said that the charges may constitute an offence under unfair trading regulations.

She said: "Given the allegations made, the council will be seeking to speak to the licensee regarding this."

Ms Jones suggested that disputes over prices could be avoided if all pubs provided a clear price list.

Under the old trading standard regulations all bars were required to display their prices.

But these rules were scrapped in May 2008 when new regulations came into force which only talks about omitting "material information".

Ms Jones said: "Although the new regulations don't expressly lay down how information is given to a consumer, it is clear to me that in any bar or restaurant a price list is the only practical and fair way to make customers aware of prices prior to making a purchase.

"A million people a day visit Westminster, and tourism is incredibly important to the economy.

"We will ensure all consumers, be they tourists or other groups, are not taken advantage by any unfair trading practices."

The Punchbowl was bought by Madonna and Ritchie, who have a home nearby in Marylebone, six months ago for a reported £2.5million.

Since then it has entertained such starry clientele as Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Barbara Streisand.

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