Tuesday, 14 June 2016

How Do Pubs Survive These Days?

How Do Pubs Survive These Days

I went into a pub the other day. It's not something I do very often. There was a couple of men in there drinking some yellowy stuff. I scanned the pumps looking for something that might be brown stuff. Kronenbourg, Skol, Cider, but nothing I could see was brown stuff. I thought,  maybe there's something showing on the price list. Price list. I scanned the walls around the bar for a price list. I couldn't see one.

"Do you have a price list?", I asked. The response was in the negative. One of the drinkers piped up, excusing the pub saying it was just a little pub. The thought ran through my mind that licensed premises had to display notices like that. [Later, on the Internet: 'Prior to consumption or payment by customers, the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 require operators to make menus and prices readily available and to include such information required by a customer to make an informed choice.']

"What is it you want?" I was asked.
"Well, something like John Smith's," I offered.

I was told that they did have that, but I couldn't see it because it was "on the other side". I ordered a pint, and she went off to draw it. I opted to leave that bar through one door, enter the fresh air outside, and re-enter 'the other side', where the pint glass was almost full.

"How much, please?" I asked.
"£3.20."

I choked inwardly, reflecting on the four times 89p 500ml bottles of Heatherwood's Golden Goose I had purchased in Lidl's a few days earlier.

After paying, I looked around the bar. A Sky Sports channel was on. No other customers in the bar. A dart board on one wall. A few chairs and tables, and a cushioned bench. A rack of paperback books. Some old photographs on the walls. I walked over for closer inspections. Old pictures of the former village, nothing I hadn't seen before.

A certificate hung neglected beside the exit door, declaring ' --(pub name) -- winner of Tug of War competition 199- '.
"No sign of actual community involvement  than at least 20 years ago", I thought to myself.

The sportscaster on tv started annoying me. I asked the barmaid if it could be turned off. "No, it has to stay on," she told me, "it's on contract."

My back was up. I was their only paying customer on 'this side'. Suppose someone wanted to get out of the house to get away from the rest of the family who were watching inane tv programmes? Why would they want more inane tv?

It had to stay on. I was offered another channel, as a consolation prize presumably, and opted for a music channel. More drivel came on, of a musical variety. Why would people come in here, I thought. Dart board. Maybe there are darts? I enquired. "Yes, we do," the barmaid started searching for darts, her fingers moved along a top shelf, a bottom shelf. Two were found. "I have 2." she offered.

I groaned to myself.

"Hang on," she said on tip-toes, here's the other one, and pushed the three over to me.

I played for a bit, but there again I could have played darts on my own at home. I sat down on a bench to finish drinking. Would I really want to stay in here having another one? No, I wouldn't.

I would stick to whatever Lidl's, or the other supermarkets can come up with.





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