It struck me as one of those pubs which would be written up as warm, friendly and welcoming, but only by its regulars. Put it this way, there were five or six punters stood in front of the bar, and every one of them looked round as I came in. The last time that happened to me the punters were speaking Welsh. As for the beer, there were five or six hand pumps, but it was actually quite hard to see all the pump clips, what with the discussion group parked in front of the bar...This prompted me to do a blogpost on a subject I had been mulling over for a while. Very often a group of geezers chatting at the bar is a positive sign that you’ve walked in to somewhere that still functions as a pub as opposed to a dining venue. But, on the other hand, if they are the only customers, it’s a bad sign. And I can’t help thinking that the buggers would be better off sitting down to continue their conversation once they’ve got their drinks, or at the very least moving away from the counter.
In many cases a group of voluble barflies encountered immediately you walk in through the door can be seriously offputting. Ideally, they should be in the vault, but in general they aren’t, even if the pub still has one. If they’re standing at the bar in a line it can make it difficult to get served or to see what beers are available, even more so if they’re sitting on barstools. And as for barstools with backs, what an abomination!
There’s one pub where I deliver the local CAMRA magazine where in my view a cluster of regulars chatting around the apex of the bar just inside the entrance gives a very poor initial impression, and a Wetherspoon’s where a group gather and block the view of the handpumps. They also very often seem to be the kind of guys (and you’ll know what I mean) who have a bunch of keys attached to the waistband of their trousers.
If I ran a pub there would be no barstools, let alone barstools with backs. What’s that I hear? “If you ran a pub there would be no customers!”?