A theatre critic was left stunned after being denied a glass of his favourite red wine at Doncaster's Cast theatre - because an "insane" rule meant staff weren't allowed to serve it by the glass.
Freelance journalist Phil Penfold had asked staff at the venue's bar for a glass of Merlot - but was told that the only red wine he could have by the glass was Cabernet Sauvignon.
He said: "They told me that they didn't sell Merlot by the glass, just by the bottle. They didn't know why they could only sell me Cabernet Sauvignon by the glass, they told me it was just the rules. Merlot could only be sold by the bottle."
Phil, 67, had attended the theatre in Sir Nigel Gresley Square to review an updated version of Verdi's classic opera La Traviata on Wednesday night.
He said: "I got my tickets and joined the queue at the bar and when I got to the front, I asked the girl behind the counter for a large glass of Merlot, my favourite red, and the same again for the interval.
"She told me that I couldn't have Merlot, they were only allowed to sell Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz by the glass and I'd have to have that. If I wanted Merlot, I'd have to buy the bottle. They weren't allowed to serve me a single glass.
"I told her that if I was necking a full bottle before the show, it would render me totally incapable of doing my job! It is absolute lunacy that they can sell one type of red wine by the glass but not another.
"The rule defies logic and is absolutely insane. Who comes up with rules like that?"
Phil, of Lawn Road, was forced to opt for a glass of Sauvignon ahead of the show and another during the interval - but has since contacted Cast to question the ruling.
"It is like telling me that you can have a certain type of sandwich on a plate, but not another. The staff behind the bar were perfectly polite and I didn't have a problem with them, but they seemed as confused by the rule as I was.
He added: "In over fifty years of theatre-going, I have never had an experience so bizarre as that. I wonder what they would think if I took along my own hip flask and glasses next time?"
We have contacted Cast for comment.