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300-strong UK pub chain bans smartphone voice calls in every location

A man using a smartphone to make a phone call using his voice.

If you frequent pubs in the United Kingdom that bear the Samuel Smith name, you might want to watch your smartphone usage. According to a new internal company memo leaked by Manchester Evening News, the pub chain — which boasts more than 300 outlets — is banning all customer smartphone calls.

If a customer wants to make a call, they will have to exit the building and do so outside, similar to how smokers have to do the same when they want to smoke.

The phone call ban is an effort to keep the face-to-face conversational atmosphere of a traditional pub intact. The use of tablets and laptops are also banned, both inside and directly in front of pubs.

It should be noted that smartphone use isn’t banned completely: you can still check emails and text messages. However, you can’t “receive transmitted pictures of sport or download music apps,” for some reason.

This isn’t the first time Samuel Smith pubs have instituted an unconventional rule. The pubs already ban music and televisions and there is also a zero tolerance policy on the use of profanity.

Humphrey Smith, the owner of the brewery, does everything he can to preserve the traditional spirit of the pubs as started by the original Samuel Smith in 1758. According to the brewery’s website, the company also tries to adhere to famous author George Orwell’s vision of a perfect pub experience as written in his essay “The Moon Under Water.”

Landlord Oisin Rogers, who runs The Guinea Grill in an upper-class area of London, said Mr. Smith was “going all Willie Wonka again” with the latest ban.

NEXT: France bans personal smartphones and tablets in schools

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